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.

The Yankees fumble on their new toy’s dime

Gray started his life as a Yankee with a 2-0 deficit not of his own making on a night Corey Kluber was impossible to hit . . .

Gray started his life as a Yankee with a 2-0 deficit not of his own making on a night Corey Kluber was impossible to hit . . .

Once upon a time, Athletics fans hailed a Sonny Gray start with a banner on the railing reading, “Forecast: Sonny with Chance of Strikeouts.” For Gray’s Yankee debut against Corey Kluber and the Indians, you could have forgiven Indians fans if they’d thought to hang one reading, “Forecast: Sonny with Chance of Errors.”

Darvish and Gray, aces swapped on missions

His battering by the Marlins last week didn't make Yu Darvish any less attractive to the steamrolling Dodgers on non-waiver deadline day . . .

His battering by the Marlins last week didn’t make Yu Darvish any less attractive to the steamrolling Dodgers on non-waiver deadline day . . .

What a difference two non-waiver trade deadline deals involving two pitching aces make. Yu Darvish to the Dodgers figures to solidify a team that looks like it has the National League West sewn up and in the bank; Sonny Gray to the Yankees, say most analysts so far, means the Yankee rebuild is over and Joe Girardi, in the words of ESPN’s Andrew Marchand, now manages for his job.

The Leaning Tower of 161st Street

Aaron Judge, hitting one of the home runs that have been dropping jaws all season thus far.

Aaron Judge, hitting one of the home runs that have been dropping jaws all season thus far.

These, I thought to myself, were the kind of home runs I saw Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Dave Kingman and Mike Schmidt hit. Not just home runs but conversation pieces. Not just an unimpeded trip around the bases but anything from a potential flight onto the number 4 el tracks to a broken window behind a ballpark.

Is Derek Jeter fishing for the Marlins?

Jeter, here hitting the home run that became his 3,000th major league hit, has ideas about becoming a baseball owner . . .

Jeter, here hitting the home run that became his 3,000th major league hit, has ideas about becoming a baseball owner . . .

Three decades ago, when Boys of Summer author Roger Kahn bought the minor league Utica Blue Sox, one of the first people he told was “my cherished Brooklyn Dodgers friend” Carl Furillo. “You? An owner?” Furillo replied in amazement. “You’ll be lucky if you don’t have two ulcers by Opening Day.”

Kahn sold the team after a year. But he was (and is) a writer. Players turning owners is almost as rare. The latest possibility may be Derek Jeter, who’s reported to be interested in becoming a major player in any push to buy the Miami Marlins.

Opening Day: Longoria, Archer pin the Baby Bombers

2017's first home run launches off Evan Longoria's bat . . .

2017′s first home run launches off Evan Longoria’s bat . . .

Opening Day in all fairness isn’t the complete, final measure of the season to come. The Yankees are probably thanking the spirits of Yankees past for that after the beat down Evan Longoria the Rays inflicted upon them Sunday afternoon.

But they’re probably also saying thanks to whomever aligned their bullpen to open. The pen showed the moxie the lineup lacked after the Rays piled up what proved the 7-3 final. Shame they couldn’t stop Longoria from hitting the season’s first bomb.

Dallas Green, RIP: Toughness to tragedy

Green (right) joining the field party with Mike Schmidt (20) and, center, relief ace Tug McGraw, as the Phillies win their first World Series.

Green (right) joining the field party with Mike Schmidt (20) and, center, relief ace Tug McGraw, as the Phillies win their first World Series.

Dallas Green, who died today at 82, once told his players he was the toughest sonofabitch for whom they’d ever play. Whether leading the Phillies to their first World Series title or surviving the furies of George Steinbrenner with the 1989 Yankees or the planned obsolescence of the early-to-mid 1990s Mets, Green’s kind of tough let him survive the kind of times that could break the toughest of birds at a moment’s notice.

New book remembers Hunter’s free agency groundbreak

Hunter on the mound during the 1974 World Series.

Hunter on the mound during the 1974 World Series.

If the excerpt I have just read from Jason Turnbow’s Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley’s Swinging A’s is any indication, it promises to be maybe the single best study of one of baseball’s most memorably controversial teams. The early-to-mid-1970s Oakland Athletics were many things. Dull wasn’t one of them.

You remember: the Mustache Gang who ruled baseball (three straight World Series rings, a feat not achieved since) while they played and were owned almost as though there were no rules beyond the caprices of themselves (if ever any team adhered to the old maxim that boys will be boys, the early 70s A’s were it), and, particularly, their Mad Hatter-like owner.

The Yankees tell Chapman, “Let’s do it again”—and how

Chapman returns to the Yankees on a record-setting deal . . .

Chapman returns to the Yankees on a record-setting deal . . .

The next time the world champion Cubs see Aroldis Chapman will be either in regular season interleague play or in the World Series, assuming the Cubs return within the next five years and face the Yankees. Not that they’re complaining about dealing for Wade Davis, but you suspect in their hearts of hearts the Cubs knew Chapman was a second-half rental.

A sweep weekend for the Mets and the Red Sox

It wasn't exactly the Hanley Ramirez Show only for the weekend Red Sox, but don't tell CC Sabathia, who surrendered the three-run homer Ramirez has just hit here . . .

It wasn’t exactly the Hanley Ramirez Show only for the weekend Red Sox, but don’t tell CC Sabathia, who surrendered the three-run homer Ramirez has just hit here . . .

Thirty years ago, the Mets and the Red Sox locked in mortal baseball combat, in a World Series. It ended with the Mets on top of a baseball world that didn’t necessarily love that edition of the team, and the Red Sox having been kicked to the rocks below after having gotten close enough, yet again, to a Promised Land determined never to let them set foot upon it again, or so it seemed.