A-Rod, we hardly knew ye

A-Rod's earning big cred as a baseball analyst for Fox Sports after changing himself as a person.

A-Rod, earning big cred as a baseball analyst for Fox Sports, after changing himself as a person.

The Hollywood Reporter, of all things, has Alex Rodriguez having “the secret to a successful second act,” which they quote him as giving: “You have to own your shit.” Which he’s done, little by little, from the moment he returned from his Biogenesis-related suspension from baseball.

Publishing a remarkable story about his transformation into a very respected baseball analyst on television and a mentor to fellow former athletes off, The Reporter seems dazed enough in tone to suggest what an objective reader might take away from reading it: A-Rod, we hardly knew ye.

A-Rod accepts the end as he never accepted himself

The player's been saying farewell but the man's been saying hello . . .

The player’s been saying farewell for almost two seasons, but the man’s been saying hello for just as long . . .

A one-time legend among New York columnists, Frank Graham, observed about a suddenly-accessible player at the end of his career, “He learned to say hello when it was time to say goodbye.” Paraphrasing, Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News wrote Sunday that Alex Rodriguez learned to say hello while he was essentially saying goodbye over the past two years.

A tale of two ex-Yankees to be?

Teixiera---who looks here as though he'd love to---can still eat up balls at first base at an above average level, but his injury-compromised bat may make him an ex-Yankee sooner than you think.

Teixiera—who looks here as though he’d love to—can still eat up balls at first base at an above average level, but his injury-compromised bat may make him an ex-Yankee sooner than you think.

There comes speculation that some in the administration of the Yankees—struggling much of the season, but currently winners of seven out of their last eleven—are pondering whether to cut bait and release two aging and expensive veterans, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixiera. If so, the pondering should graduate to acting.

Spring training is sprung . . .

. . . and what would be a little spring training without a few little controversies, actual or alleged, here and there?

Manfred

Manfred

■ THE CHANGELING—That would be new commissioner Rob Manfred, for whom it seems everything short of shortening the basepaths (oops! don’t give him any ideas!) is on the table, whether it’s outlawing defensive shifting, coming up with new rule adjustments to (it is alleged) speed up the game, or even returning baseball to the 154-game season. (The American League went to 162 games after its first expansion, beginning in 1961; the National League did likewise starting with its first expansion in 1962.)

The writing on the wall barks at A-Rod

A-Rod files to withdraw his suits against MLB, MLBPA: The writing on the wall barked at him.

A-Rod files to withdraw his suits against MLB, MLBPA: The writing on the wall barked at him.

Accepting the inevitable comes hard enough for most mortals, never mind professional athletes. When the inevitable is retirement, it isn’t everyone who faces it with quiet grace and gratitude for having been there at all, and it often forces a player to buck up to it. When the inevitable is banishment for cause, it isn’t everyone who can resist facing it kicking and screaming, but few kicked and screamed as loudly or as wildly as Alex Rodriguez did until Friday.

Braden, Bay, decent men putting paid to indecent career endings

No hugs meant more to Dallas Braden than Grandma's---especially on the day he was perfect.

No hugs meant more to Dallas Braden than Grandma’s—especially on the day he was perfect.

Let’s have no more than absolutely necessary about the Alex Rodriguez contretemps. For now, say only that he’s managed to provoke comparisons to the end of the McCarthy era while suing his own union, the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, in a filing that includes a rather nasty dig at the late executive director Michael Weiner (Weiner “falsely declar[ed] Mr. Rodriguez’s guilt and stat[ed] he should accept a suspension and resolve the Grievance at issue,” the filing charges) who urged A-Rod to make a deal rather than fight a war he couldn’t win.

A-Rod Agonistes, the final chapter?

The stain on his uniform may be nothing compared to the stain on him, his team, and his game . . .

The stain on his uniform may be nothing compared to the stain on him, his team, and his game . . .

We could see a 2014 baseball season and maybe more without Alex Rodriguez, after all. The original 211-game suspension didn’t hold up, but on Saturday independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz imposed a ban of 162 games plus any postseason competition into which the Yankees enter. As no few observers have noted already, that’ll be an easier jump to justify than a 211-game jump, the thinking being that losing a season is more defensible on appeal than losing an unprecedented season and a third.

Eve of Destruction

A-Rod Agonistes has kept us from talking about the midseason trades that resulted in things like Bud Norris getting creamed after he won his first start as an Oriole . . .

A-Rod Agonistes has kept us from talking about the midseason trades that resulted in things like Bud Norris getting creamed after he won his first start as an Oriole . . .

In hindsight, it seems almost inevitable. Not just that Alex Rodriguez is going down; that’s been just about a given since he became the number one topic around actual or alleged performance-enhancing substances after Ryan Braun’s suspension.

Now, we’re talking about A-Rod himself pushing the plunger on himself. If you’ll pardon the expression. And the Yankees, who’ve been stretched to the absolute end of their proverbial rope, even by their standards, aren’t exactly ready pick up his funeral tab.

Another Yankee prodigal—but a different Yankee circus

Soriano, when he was young, a Yankee, and a Sports Illustrated cover boy . . .

Soriano, when he was young, a 2002 Yankee, and a Sports Illustrated cover boy . . .

The Yankees have never been shy about giving second comings to former stars, useful spare parts, or even managers. Enos Slaughter, Bobby Murcer, Billy Martin, Goose Gossage, Yogi Berra, Tommy John, David Wells, Ruben Sierra, and Andy Pettitte could tell you that.

But I can’t recall any of those men, with the exception of Berra succeeding Martin in 1984, being brought back to the field in what might well be part of a plan to move a continuing pain in the ass to one side.

Costas has a disincentive plan for PEDs

The Man Who Wouldn't Be Commissioner keeps thinking and speaking like one, anyway . . .

The Man Who Wouldn’t Be Commissioner keeps thinking and speaking like one, anyway . . .

By now it’s a waste of space to suggest Bob Costas should be baseball’s next commissioner, simply because he doesn’t want the job, and never really has, no matter who’s thought how highly of his mind and love for the game. Unfortunately, the Man Who Wouldn’t Be Commissioner doesn’t help his own anti-cause by saying things that cause people to think he ought to be dragged into the job by any means necessary when Bud Selig decides at last that it’s time to retire.