Illegal Russian gangster-run A-list poker ring, formerly attended by Alex Rodriguez, gets busted

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In August 2011, Alex Rodriguez was called on the carpet by Major League Baseball for allegedly being involved in “an underground, illegal poker game where cocaine was openly used,” to quote the tabloid reports at the time. He met with the league and nothing happened apart from him promising not to hang out at underground, illegal poker games where cocaine is openly used anymore.  Which seems sorta reasonable.

Here’s hoping he kept his promise, because that underground, illegal poker ring got busted yesterday, according to the Daily News. And this one has Russian gangsters in it!

An ultraexclusive, high-stakes, illegal poker ring run by Russian gangsters for Wall Street multimillionaires and celebrities like Alex Rodriguez folded on Tuesday, authorities said.

Federal agents arrested about 30 people and brought charges against 34 in total, including underground poker den operators previously linked to the Yankees slugger and other A-listers.

Look, A-Rod said he quit doing that back in 2011, so to sully his name here is just unfair. It’s in the past! What next? Are people gonna say he never quit taking PEDs before 2009 when he said he did? Are we no longer to take him at his word?

Hmm. Um, wait. Let’s just forget I said that.

(hat tip to The Big Lead)

 

Kendrys Morales pitched a scoreless inning Sunday

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Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.

Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.

Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.

On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.