It seems that Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez has been pulled into the Tobey Maguire poker ring mess—MLB is investigating allegations that A-Rod participated in illegal, underground poker games, including one which turned violent. And if Bud Selig doesn't believe A-Rod's pokerface, then it could cost him serious playing time: "We're talking to people involved in the investigation and we're taking this very seriously. Because he had been warned about this before, I would say a possible suspension would be very much in play," an MLB executive told ESPN.
A-Rod had been warned about gambling in underground poker clubs by the Yankees and by Selig, both of whom were concerned that A-Rod could end up with a Pete Rose-type lifetime ban from baseball. Last month, Star Magazine said they had three sources who could place A-Rod at the games. Now, it sounds like Selig is seriously pissed at Rodriguez, who is also being investigated for using HGH. "He had been warned about this previously. As far back as Shoeless Joe, gambling is a serious concern for the league. We're taking this seriously," an MLB executive told the News.
According to RadarOnline, A-Rod played in at least two of the poker games, one of which took place at the Beverly Hills mansion of a record executive where "cocaine was openly used" and a fight nearly broke out when one of the players refused to pay after losing "more than a half-million dollars." When the fight broke out, A-Rod tried to "distance himself from the game," and a player who was in attendance described his reaction:
He just shook his head, not knowing what the hell happened. He didn't want to deal with it at all. He was like, 'OK, whatever. It's your game.' I would estimate A-Rod lost, like, a few thousand dollars that night. After everything that happened, he paid up and left.
Another poker player who said he had played with A-Rod in the last 18 months noted that the slugger had been smugly successful in the past at the games: "He [Rodriguez] had an amazing run. He won about $20,000 and left with everyone's money." We bet A-Rod is missing the days when it seemed like he was past most of his old scandals, and getting hand-fed popcorn by a beautiful Hollywood actress seemed like a big embarrassment.