Alex Rodriguez: usually bluffing, rarely a safe bet


Alex Rodriguez reacts after the end of the second inning against the Cleveland Indians last month. (Jason Miller/GETTY IMAGES)

For the third time in three years, Alex Rodiguez is going to be summoned to the offices of Major League Baseball to explain himself. This time it’s about poker, specifically his possible participation in at least one illegal high-stakes poker game.

Baseball has been investigating whether A-Rod took part in an illegal game that involved actors Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. (What, no Topher Grace? No Brad Pitt dispensing lessons? Seriously, this sounds like a scene from “Ocean’s 14.”)

Rodriguez is also accused of participating in a game at which cocaine was consumed by . . . someone. No one’s saying it was A-Rod. And what are the chances? Unless his cousin told him to suck some white powder up his nose, but neither of them knew what it was. That’s what we were led to believe when A-Rod faced steroids accusations: Neither of them knew what was in the bottle, but A-Rod let his cousin inject it in his behind.

Has there ever been an athlete who has shot himself in the foot and reloaded the gun as many times as Rodriguez? Because if Rodriguez doesn’t provide credible answers to the baseball inquistors — think Death Eaters in better suits — a suspension could be in the offing. In 2005, the Yankees and baseball officials warned A-Rod to no longer participate in underground poker games, according to the New York Daily News. He’d been warned and did it anyway. Shocking.

Rodriguez is on the disabled list after having knee surgery in July, so he’s got time on his hands and no excuses for not showing up promptly at baseball’s New York offices to answer questions — other than having to leave Cameron Diaz alone on a beach somewhere, which is always a risk. A spokesman said Rodriguez would cooperate with investigators but denied wrongdoing.

But history would suggest that his answers don’t mean much anyway. Rodriguez has already admitted to steroid use (after denying it), and he has been linked to Dr. Anthony Galea, the Canadian doctor who’s under federal investigation for providing human growth hormones and other banned substances to more than a few professional athletes. (You can bet all four of the major sports leagues are champing at the bit to get their hands on Galea’s patient list.)

I don’t often feel sorry for baseball officials, and I never feel sorry for Commissioner Bud Selig. But they’ll have to sit in their offices and listen once again to Rodriguez’s lies and excuses. Again. Deep down, they have to be wishing that A-Rod likes poker enough to switch careers and become Norman Chad’s problem instead of theirs.

Instead, all they can do is suspend him. Because let’s face it: They can’t make him smarter. If only someone could come up with an injection for that.

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