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.

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.

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.

Amidst Boschgate, Prince Hal Gives Yankees a Reality Check

Steinbrenner isn't exactly the King of Hearts. (Yes, that's Whitey Ford to his left . . .)

Steinbrenner isn’t exactly the King of Hearts. (Yes, that’s Whitey Ford to his left . . .)

As the latest contretemps involving Alex Rodriguez continues winding (or unwinding, as the case may well be) toward somewhere, Hal Steinbrenner, perhaps inadvertently, allowed to slip a hint that maybe, just maybe, the Yankees are learning in in-house cultural terms to deal with baseball’s, and any sport’s, least repealable law.

The Empire Emeritus¬†and its managing general partner may pledge to cooperate with baseball government’s probe into Boschgate (“But other than that, there’s not much to say”), and they may be pondering ways to divest themselves of Rodriguez’s presence and its baggage, actual or alleged. But they may also be learning the hard way the lesson Steinbrenner’s larger-than-life father didn’t always seem have known.