Bad Beat

The sport of baseball turns its head to many things people find fundamentally wrong.

Performance enhancing drugs? No big deal.

Cocaine use? A slap on the wrist will do.

Gambling? That’s where baseball draws the line.

Pete Rose finished his Hall of Fame career without a bust in Cooperstown. The all-time leader in career hits in the history of the sport of baseball cannot be called a Hall of Famer. Ever. He bet on baseball, likely on his own team. The seventh commissioner of the sport, Bart Giamatti, gave Rose a lifetime ban from the game. Giamatti then died suddenly and no one has come close to overturning Rose’s admission into baseball’s Hall.

Alex Rodriguez, currently 50th on the all-time hit list and one of the game’s greatest current players, now faces his own Waterloo. Baseball is investigating Rodriguez’s involvement in a high-stakes poker game that turned violent. The Commissioner’s Office could care less about the alleged violence or cocaine use. It’s all about the Benjamins.

Six years ago, baseball warned A-Rod about his involvement with poker games and basically told him to cash out. Current commissioner Bud Selig played the Pete Rose card and warned Rodriguez that he could end up on the no-show list for the enshrinement class of 2023. According to the report, A-Rod didn’t listen and began playing cards again.

It’s fascinating to see how this will play itself out over the following weeks and years. Why does baseball turn a blind eye toward drug use and concentrate on something that seems ancillary to the game itself? How does Rodriguez’s involvement in a card game affect his play on the field? Why should this be punished by baseball?

Alex Rodriguez admitted use of performance enhancing drugs in 2003. He wasn’t the only one.  A-Rod didn’t serve a suspension stemming from his obvious cheating in hopes of becoming better in his professional life. He hit many homers. People cheered. He still has a legitimate shot of becoming the all-time home run king, if that title means anything anymore.

A-Rod now faces a possible suspension for playing cards.

Think about that.

The game of baseball makes perfect sense if you keep score correctly. This box score leaves me scratching my head.

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