“As far back as Shoeless Joe, gambling is a serious concern for the league. We’re taking this seriously.” That’s the word from an unnamed source in the Commissioner’s office concerning reports Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez has been involved in high-stakes poker games featuring Hollywood celebs, blow and random acts of thuggery. It took well into his mid 30’s, but finally, A-Rod’s managed a more appealing image makeover! From the New York Daily News’ Terri Thompson, Bill Madden and Mark Feisand ;

MLB began looking into reports in July that A-Rod was involved in a game at the Beverly Hills mansion of a record executive where, according to a report by Star Magazine, “a fight nearly broke out when (one of the players) refused to pay after losing more than a half million dollars… and cocaine was openly used.”

According to the story, Rodriguez later organized his own high-stakes game in Miami, “which ended with thugs threatening players.”

According to the story, details of which were reportedly provided by another player in the games, Rodriguez tried to distance himself from the game, once the violence broke out.

“He just shook his head, not knowing what the hell happened,” the whistle-blower revealed. “He didn’t want to deal with it at all. He was like, ‘OK, whatever. It’s your game.’ I would estimate A-Rod lost, like, a few thousand dollars that night. After everything that happened, he paid up and left.”

MLB’s investigation comes almost 6 years after Rodriguez was warned by the Yankees to find another hobby besides attending underground poker games (“It’s Official : Princess A-Rod Is Really The Michael Jordan Of MLB”, CSTB, November 2, 2005). It’s very hard to image where A-Rod ever got the idea he was above reproach — surely there’s a cousin somewhere who can be blamed for this?