You know, one thing you can certainly not accuse good old A-Rod of is being boring. He is approaching that hallowed celebrity ground where literally any story you hear about him could be possible. ‘’A-Rod had a sex change? I guess that could happen!’’

So what now, A-Rod? It would appear the Bronx Bomber might be in more trouble than usual, even by his lofty standards.

Cue the latest, sensational, A-Rod related news headlines. Major League Baseball is telling all and sundry that they are taking allegations that A-Rod played in an illegal, underground, high stakes poker game, which subsequently turned violent when one of the big losers refused to pay up.

The details are as swarthy as your imagination could possibly come up with. First reported by and now flashing across the universe like an exploding Death Star, it appears A-Rod has been playing on a sort of a poker tour frequented by A-List actors and other big shots in the movie and music world. Those allegedly involved include Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon. Most of the information appears to be coming from a ‘Poker Pro’ who was at one of the games A-Rod frequented.

That particular game was hosted at investor and record label owner Cody Leibel’s $16.5 million Beverly Hills mansion, and cocaine was allegedly openly used. The ‘Poker Pro’ said that a fight nearly broke out when Leibel refused to pay after losing more than a half million dollars. With tempers at the table flaring, A-Rod tried to distance himself from the game, and left.
Absolutely love this quote from the ‘Poker Star’ - “It was a rough initiation to high-stakes for poker for A-Rod,”

Questions, questions, so many questions! We at this column need to know more about the game itself. Did Affleck and Damon spend the evening taking A-Rod to pieces verbally? Was that also a catalyst to the purported brawl?! If you are playing poker against A-Rod and you hold a good hand, does he try to slap it out of your grasp? Who on this Earth actually thinks Tobey Maguire is A-List?! Did A-Rod cheat?

In the wake of that last flippant question, before those A-Rod apologists still out there descend on this column like an angry mob, led by Moe Sizlak, brandishing pitchforks, let us remind them, it is a valid question.

A-Rod cheats a lot.

He cheated in 2004 when he tried to slap the rock out of Bronson Arroyo’s mitt. He cheated when he took steroids, something he admitted himself. He cheated when he shouted at Howie Clarke in 2007. He even cheated (outrageously publicly) on his wife.

So, it is completely reasonable to assume he cheats at poker too, right?

On a more serious note, six years ago MLB and the New York Yankees warned A-Rod to stay away from underground poker games. For a sport that punishes gambling so seriously (someone ask Pete Rose how he feels about this) MLB cannot be seen to be being ignored, no matter if the star is as big as A-Rod. MLB has to act, if only to protect its own disciplinary stature.

Personally, this column has absolutely nothing against A-Rod. I actually remember his first major league at bats. Summer of '94 I believe. I was working in a hotel in Cape Cod, and listening to Boston play Seattle on the radio, WEEI. Roger Clemens was pitching and A-Rod was a highly touted young shortstop with a 'can't miss' tag attached to him. As I sat there, reading a paper, eating nachos with my feet up on the counter, little did I know I was listening to the debut of such an outrageously comical character.

The period that A-Rod has been in the Majors has been a wild ride. There is no doubt we will miss him when he is gone, and, that time might not be too far away, not if he keeps letting himself get caught up in antics like this sordid Poker story.

If his steroid ridden, rapidly declining body doesn’t finish his career for him, Bud Selig and MLB might step in and finish things based on findings around illegal gambling. If both of those don’t get him, a couple of big Eastern European thugs looking for Tobey Maguire’s money might.

As always with A-Rod, it’s going to be an interesting couple of weeks.



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