Can't just ignore it
Major League Baseball will have to punish Alex Rodriguez, not necessarily because he did anything wrong but because he did something stupid. It would send an unsettling message to fans if MLB determined Rodriguez was involved in high-stakes poker games but took no action.
Gambling is poison to baseball, and this is the second time Rodriguez has been investigated for being involved in illegal games. But there's a fine line here. There's a difference between back-room poker games and betting on baseball. There's a difference between gambling and being in debt to gamblers.
If MLB is going to investigate every player who gambles, it might find itself looking at a very long list.
Los Angeles Times
Alex Rodriguez's passion for high-stakes card games has long been an open secret in South Florida. But the latest reports, if true, suggest he has upped the stakes. While there's nothing wrong with a little poker game, if drugs and thugs are involved — as Star magazine reported — that's a different story.
It would be unfair to jump to conclusions before the investigation has run its course. But if the allegations are true and baseball's best-paid player on its marquee franchise is hanging around with underworld figures, the integrity of the sport has been put at risk and a lengthy unpaid suspension may be warranted.
It will be a difficult call either way, and Rodriguez deserves a fair hearing. But the sport demands a passionate defense as well.
Hard to get worked up
This may sound cynical, but if baseball basically let a generation of widespread steroid abuse damage the credibility and statistical history of the sport, it's hard to get too excited about reports that Alex Rodriguez plays poker with fellow multimillionaires Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, Tobey Maguire and Matt Damon. Especially when so many stadiums — including the home of Bud Selig's beloved Brewers — happily accept lottery and casino advertising.
It seems almost quaint that MLB would show concern about a private game at a time when the popularity of poker is through the roof. Of course, if the tabloid reports of cocaine use could be proved that would raise the stakes and warrant a significant suspension.
Don't rush to judgment
Dave van Dyck
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's not get the cart before the horse. Let's wait to see how serious the charges turn out to be. Were known big-time gamblers involved? Did Rodriguez participate on a regular basis?
Now, if he is indeed involved with some shady characters and it was a big-time operation that might force A-Rod into a compromising financial position someday, then the charges become serious and could include disciplinary action, even suspension.
But it's more likely he'll get a sharp slap on the wrist for using bad judgment, again. Bud Selig does not take kindly to gambling associations, as proved by the continued banishment of Pete Rose, whose transgressions were more blatant and (hopefully) worse than A-Rod's.