Via ESPN.com -
Major League Baseball is taking “very seriously” the allegations that Alex Rodriguez took part in some illegal, underground poker games, one of which reportedly turned violent, and he could face suspension if his participation in the games is confirmed.
“We’re talking to people involved in the investigation and we’re taking this very seriously,” said an MLB executive who spoke to ESPNNewYork.com on condition of anonymity. “Because he had been warned about this before, I would say a possible suspension would be very much in play.”
The allegations, first published by RadarOnline.com, are that the New York Yankees third baseman played in at least two of the games, one of which took place at the Beverly Hills mansion of a record executive at which “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.”
According to the story, details of which were reportedly provided by another player at the games, Rodriguez “tried to distance himself from the game,” once the violence broke out.
“He just shook his head, not knowing what the hell happened,” the whistle-blower revealed. “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.”
In 2005, Rodriguez had been warned about gambling in underground poker clubs by the Yankees and by baseball commissioner Bud Selig, both of whom were concerned that possible involvement with gamblers who might be betting on baseball games could result in a Pete Rose-type lifetime ban from baseball.
Various reports have the games under investigation taking place as far back as 2007.
Although baseball’s investigation centers upon Rodriguez’s card-playing and he is not thought to have gambled on the outcome of any baseball games, the fact that he may have disregarded Selig’s warning is said to have angered the commissioner.
MLB is also concerned that Rodriguez’s name will resurface in the ongoing federal investigation of Dr. Anthony Galea, the Toronto physician charged with smuggling human growth hormone and other illegal substances into the United States. Galea has treated numerous professional athletes, including Rodriguez and Tiger Woods.
“It’s like there’s something new with him every day and it’s impossible to keep up with it,” a baseball insider said.