Trying to squeeze something out of the A-Rod poker story

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It’s been funny watching the New York media trying to make something out of this A-Rod poker story.  They staked him out during his rehab workouts down in Tampa yesterday. They were told beforehand by Yankees officials that A-Rod wouldn’t answer questions about poker, and that if they asked, he’d leave.  They asked, he left. Headline from the Post: “A-Rod folds.”  Never change, New York Post. Never, ever change.

Thing is, there really isn’t anything new to be taken from this story.  There are competing allegations about whether or not he was at a poker game and Major League Baseball’s vow to investigate, and that’s it. Oh, and then there’s this little thing from the Post story:

Rodriguez also reportedly has played poker with tennis star Pete Sampras.

Which was immediately denied by Rodriguez’s PR people. But really, is that a salacious allegation? Is there a more milquetoast celebrity/athlete than Pete Sampras?  Heck, if I were making a list of athletes I’d let watch my kids for a weekend, Sampras would probably be in the top three. Maybe the top two now that Harmon Killebrew has died.  I’d worry more about him OD’ing on milk and cookies than anything else.

But if that’s where we are, what’s next?  “Rodriguez has reportedly played Crazy Eights with the guy who played Ralphie in ‘A Christmas Story'”? “Rodriguez has reportedly played Uno with Kirk Cameron”? “Rodriguez has reportedly played ‘Sorry’ with that Zachary Johnson kid from down the block, and none of the moms really like him”?

I know everyone wants there to be another A-Rod scandal because there isn’t anything much more fun than that, but really, this is all so weak.

Yoenis Cespedes blames a lack of golf for his early season slump

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Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.

It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.

Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:

He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”

The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.