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Keidel: Don’t Concern Yourself With A-Rod’s Gambling Habits

Not that many of you listen to me, but I urge the few who do to drop this A-Rod gambling obsession like a Nolan Ryan heater a meter away.

I wrote a column last week asserting that A-Rod is the most polarizing athlete in America, beating LeBron by a nose. And it seems every man, woman, and child chides him with some frequency. Or you defend him to the death. There are no tepid takes on the man who fittingly makes his home in the hot corner.

Frankly, I don’t see what’s so charming, disarming, or disheartening about Mr. Rodriguez, but no one ever accused me of being normal. As a Yankees fan I want him to suppress his penchant for gagging in October (sans 2009) and see another gratuitous banner fly from the fake façade over that embellished martini bar they now call Yankee Stadium. Where he plays cards means nothing to me.

Indeed, if a heterosexual male tells you he’s never made a bet with a bud, been to a strip club or checked “Yes” next to the Happy Ending item on the massage menu, he’s lying. (Yes, pray your wife doesn’t read this and make the inevitable inquiries.) Only two of those entities are illegal, of course. But no matter A-Rod’s sin, it is we, his fellow sinners, who project our problems on his poker. This time his fatal flaw was entering a casino – a rather legal endeavor – to play some cards.”

Telling me that A-Rod played five-card draw in a Pennsylvania casino is as exciting as saying he bought organic butter from an Amish market next door. What’s next? You now know his tell? He picks his nose when he’s got a helluva hand?

Lord knows there are a thousand reasons to dislike Alex Rodriguez – which I listed in detail last week – but this isn’t one of them. He’s a supreme narcissist, a characteristic that covers about 90 percent of pro players, of any sport of any import. Being great means more than having a talent for topic X; it also requires a singular dedication to himself and his craft, which includes thousands of hours of practice (or rehearsal, if you prefer) and, frankly, looking at yourself. In fact, the odd athlete is the one who doesn’t have an odd – if not disturbing – fixation with himself. There are thousands of prominent athletes precisely like Rodriguez. Perhaps the defining difference is his money and movie-star looks.

What gets to me is A-Rod’s half-hearted mea culpa over steroids.

“You see, what had happened was, I think I took something called ‘boli’ or something, from my brother’s mother’s cousin’s uncle’s niece’s nephew somewhere in the Caribbean.” It was pure fertilizer then, and it is now. He knows he shot his tan tush with equine cocktails that would make Man o’ War blush. But since we live in a societal sphere of half-truths, half-lies appear identical in our inverted veracity. So we forgave him.

Lord knows he’s foisted fodder and Page Six blotters on our laps ever since he peeled the pinstripes onto his acne-addled back. But at what point does shooting darts at his visage become vulgar? I don’t particularly care for the man. But aside from steroids, I really don’t get the felonious face you’ve painted over him.

We can all plunge into rigorous relativism, asserting that A-Rod makes more than ten thousand teachers combined. A fireman making 40K jumps into burning buildings to save a dog, while A.J. Burnett dogs his way through every outing at 500 grand per start. But what does that accomplish?

We know our world is economically and comically distorted. Is this news? Whenever he makes a movie, Jim Carrey requires a chef for his pet lizard, and you wonder if A-Rod doubles down on an eight while the dealer flouts a face card? It’s his money to burn. This notion that poker is a perilous funnel to fixing games is laughable. The man will make half a billion bucks before his 40th birthday. He can buy just about any casino he enters.  Time to step out of the Joe Jackson time warp. There is no threat other than the emotional egg on his face for shoveling cash to players with ten times his poker prowess. It’s not the first time he’s played the fool, and he’s flush against a full house no matter the house’s take. In fact, Michael Jordan was hustled by golf pros for years. Does it matter if it happens on the green felt of a poker table or the green grass of a golf course?

No, A-Rod’s karmic tax comes later, when he has the genitalia of a newborn and a voice higher than Jennifer Tilly. Jose Canseco is the precursor to the American juicer, who thumbed their nose at our pastime, and it’s long past time they pay a more vicious vigorish, one that cheaters and chips can’t measure. When A-Rod would rather mow the lawn than make love, you’ll know he got his. The man’s dishonesty has been amply archived. Don’t blast him for the rare moment he’s not.

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One Comment

  1. Stephen McIntosh says:

    This is cool! Thank you for this.
    Costa Bingo – 🙂

  2. JK says:

    Nice – we have a new robot spamming sports articles. Thanks, Stephen. Are you replacing Lydia the porn spam master?

  3. Stephen McIntosh says:

    Thankyou so much for this. Interesting.

    Redbus Bingo –

  4. Kurt Spitzner says:


    1. JK says:

      Agreed, Mr. Spitzner. But, as you know, some guys can’t get through a day without hating.

      1. Kurt Spitzner says:

        I know God forbid people pay things forward!

    2. Jonas Altman-Kurosaki says:

      What a novel idea. If baseball fans were somehow able to turn the page and applaud Sammy Sosa for his 600th HR, surely we can turn the page on this not-even-a-footnote in A-Rod’s career.

      1. JK says:

        Hard – if not impossible – to think of Sosa as someone with more homers than Ted Williams. Without the juice Sammy hits, what, 200 homers?

  5. JK says:

    Carson needs to be right, Jonas. Let’s let him be. He misses the primary point, which (as you already told him) is that playing poker is incidental under the wider lens of legality. In fact, he’s going so far as to tell me what I mean. How can we reason with someone like that?

  6. Carson says:

    “as you clearly didn’t read, the author said himself that the article was not based on the Post story but “an article on this very site posted yesterday.”

    If you had clearly read the story on here yesterday, you would have known it was inspired by the NY Post story.

  7. Robert Richardson says:

    I am ambivalent about A-Rod. All I care about (short of felonious behavior) as a die hard Yankee fan is what he is going to contribute to the chase for 28. He is the personification of the lopsided American dream. Why can’t Bud selig let him have a “happy ending” ?????

    1. JK says:

      Couldn’t agree more, Robert. And no, that earthquake was NOT A-Rod doubling-down on a pair of fives. 😉

  8. Richard Camp says:

    A-Rod’s doing more for the economy than Barak Obama and all the Democrats.
    He also has better vision and more integrity than MOST Umpires and Bud Selig .

    1. Jonas Altman-Kurosaki says:

      This ain’t a politics discussion, man, so I’m gonna disregard that first sentence, but do elaborate on your second point, please…

      1. JK says:

        I think he was just having fun, Jonas. I could be wrong (and often am), but it feels that way.

      2. Jonas Altman-Kurosaki says:

        Oh – in that case, good one. Being facetious is tough through text, so my bad.

    2. JK says:

      I try to stay as apolitical as possible, Richard, but I did chuckle in at least oblique agreement with you. Keep that between us.

  9. Jonas Altman-Kurosaki says:

    From the top of the page: “BREAKING NEWS: Judge Clears Way For Charges Against Dominique Strauss-Kahn To Be Dismissed.”

    Just as the French scoffed at the United States’ handling of, and outrage over, the DSK allegations (among other extramarital issues among U.S. politicians), it’s a shame more baseball fans don’t scoff at Selig’s handling of, and outrage over, the A-Rod poker case. In both instances, the point that should be realized is that there are far, far worse things to be concerned with – not even with just A-Rod, but across baseball.

    Of *course* all this mock-worthy concern over A-Rod’s alleged high-stakes whatever is just caused by his high profile. Remember the Mitchell Report? That hugely scandalous nationwide affair that included freakin’ Congress? I defy anyone concerned with A-Rod’s poker game to name one player on that Mitchell Report who was not already infamous. Dont hold your breath, Jason, since we both know that ain’t happenin’ anytime soon.

    If Bud Selig wants to concern himself with gambling in baseball, maybe he should investigate the umpires, because an issue far more concerning than A-Rod this year has been the consistently horrific umpiring going on. But no one concerned with A-Rod would even know who Greg Gibson or Jerry Meals are anyway, so no one would care. All about getting the public to care, right? Up next: Bud Selig’s All-Star Poker Bust! This time it counts!

    1. JK says:

      Wow. That’s some serious context there, Jonas. And at the risk of breaching a level of honesty that borders on stupidity, I never pondered gambling umpires. Yet it makes much sense. I have no proof, however, so it would be wise of me to reserve judgment until I know more. But thanks for this, dude.

      1. Jonas Altman-Kurosaki says:

        Trust me – I don’t want to think of gambling umps, either. I’m a guy that was against instant replay from day one, no matter how infuriating or important a call was. Besides, umps’ calls are too instantaneous and they can’t influence how a play develops until it’s over. But if Selig’s looking for a scandal, that’d at least be more newsworthy than what a millionaire does with his money. He sure as heck didn’t make much of a big deal about when Charlie Samuels got fired as Mets clubhouse manager for gambling on baseball; suddenly, it all made sense how that guy knew the Mets’ exact record wearing any given uniform combination…

  10. JK says:

    I used an article on this very site posted yesterday. But your concern is touching, if not overwhelming.

  11. Carson says:

    Using the NY Post assertions as part of your article as if they were truthful is bad journalism.

    CEO of Mohegan Sun has gone on record saying he ate dinner at the casino but did not gamble on his visit to PA.

    1. Jonas Altman-Kurosaki says:

      Carson, I don’t really understand what you’re trying to point out with your own assertions. Are you saying A-Rod didn’t gamble at all, or that he gambled in a “more illegal” setting?

      1. JK says:

        He’s hating, Jonas, no doubt wrapped in his A-Rod Snuggie.

      2. Jonas Altman-Kurosaki says:

        Or he’s OD’ed on A-Rod Haterade and wants harsher allegations! Who knows…

      3. Carson says:

        My assertion is that using the I don’t care if A-Rod gambled angle to just relist the years of transgressions is agenda driven journalism at worst if Jason knew the Post story was untrue and lazy journalism at best if he didn’t know the Post story had holes big enough to drive a truck through it without much fact checking.

        Need to work harder to make a passive aggressive A-Rod story fresh in the absence of reliable sources and facts.

      4. Jonas Altman-Kurosaki says:

        Need to not use improperly punctuated run-on sentences before you can make assertions about journalism. I couldn’t follow that train of thought no matter how little I tried.

        The point of the article was not to list better reasons to hate A-Rod. It was to bring light to the fact that despite whatever lack of “reliable sources and facts” there is, people are still concerned with, and talking about, this A-Rod gambling thing when they really shouldn’t – and as you clearly didn’t read, the author said himself that the article was not based on the Post story but “an article on this very site posted yesterday.”

      5. Jonas Altman-Kurosaki says:

        I mean, seriously – you DO know that Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, is actually investigating this A-Rod poker thing, right, and that the hysteria is not just based on a New York Post story?

      6. JK says:

        Indeed, Carson, Bobby Fischer couldn’t follow that sentence. Keep it simple for mere mortals like Jonas and Jason.

Comments are closed.

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