Here’s Why The Reports Of A-Rod’s High-Stakes Gambling Should Surprise No One
Earlier today, Radar Online published "a blockbuster Star investigation" alleging involvement by the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez in illegal, high-stakes poker games that at various points involved fighting and drug use (A-Rod reportedly "tried to distance himself from the game" once the fighting started). Star has been on this case for a while - in June, they published a report alleging the involvement of celebrities like Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Leonardo DiCaprio in the same ring.
Now, we wouldn't blame you if you saw the words "blockbuster Star investigation" and proceeded to drain all the water out of the Great Salt Lake, subsequently forming the world's largest block of salt and then saying, "I'll take that story with this, please." But it's certainly being treated like a distinct possibility - ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews says that Major League Baseball is taking the report seriously, further investigating the matter to gauge to figure out whether A-Rod - who's "been warned about this before," an anonymous MLB executive told Matthews - should be suspended.
We're not shocked about all this, and not just because A-Rod's already been cautioned about this kind of thing before. Rather, we're not surprised because we wouldn't be surprised to hear reports of any pro athlete - especially an elite one - being involved in high-stakes gambling. Getting to the pros isn't easy - it requires a drive to be the best that most people just don't possess. It's a competitive drive so strong, in fact, that it often can't be contained by sports alone. Earlier just this year, the Grizzlies had to ban gambling on team flights after a fight broke out. Earier last year, we had this.
And as far as superstars are concerned: you know there are Michael Jordan stories. Bill Simmons wrote about them once, advancing the same general idea we're talking about here: these are pathologically competitive people we're dealing with. They want to be the best at everything they do, and they want to compete at a high level. In poker, that means playing for big money - whether it goes against their better judgment or not.
If A-Rod winds up getting punished for this, there will be little argument that he didn't deserve it - but there shouldn't be anyone surprised about it, either. Of course, there will be jokes about this whole affair because it's A-Rod, the easiest guy in the world to rip on, but in reality, he's only doing what a whole lot of people in the same situation would. It doesn't make it a good thing - it just means A-Rod's acting on the same personality traits that made him as good a baseball player he is. And for those of us not wired like that (i.e. almost all of us), it's probably not even worth trying to figure out.
Photo via Getty (Jason Miller)
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.