. . . who’s the same as the old boss.
In recent years, as George Steinbrenner has faded from view as the principal owner, Levine has emerged as the strongest voice of the Yankees, baseball’s wealthiest team. He is their executive-as-prosecutor, a tough, short-tempered and smart protector of the Steinbrenner family and the Yankees brand.
“If you attack me unfairly, there are no free shots,” Levine said.
No other Yankees executive — not Steinbrenner’s sons, Hal and Hank; Brian Cashman, the general manager; or Lonn Trost, the chief operating officer — is as willfully aggressive.
“Part of Randy likes to fight,” said Hal Steinbrenner, the managing general partner. “He has a history of not backing down. He likes to be the bad cop. I’m the good cop.”
The family has never asked Levine to restrain his style. Hal Steinbrenner said he “absolutely” applauded Levine’s castigations of Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, a persistent critic of the stadium’s financing. Levine has angrily accused Brodsky, a Westchester County Democrat, of attacking the Yankees name for political ends.
Levine’s occasionally choleric behavior is not an act, he said, but evidence that he can change speeds on his rhetorical pitches.
“I get angry, but I try not to let anger color my job,” he said.
The brusque Brodsky says he sees Levine as “someone who thinks the world responds to bullying and verbal violence.” After a public hearing at which Levine, 54, turned red while yelling at him, Brodsky said: “He couldn’t have been acting. His face was too purple.”
For fans lamenting the increasingly distant presence of George Steinbrenner, Randy Levine is your man. By his own admission, Hal takes a more distant administrative role. Nobody’s really sure what Hank does, we just all hope he doesn’t do too much of it.
By most accounts, Levine was the driving force behind the building of the new stadium, the creation of the YES Network and Joe Torre’s dismissal/contract offer. He is the main reason why the Yankees enjoy the financial advantages they have today, which only appear to be growing despite the bad economy. Just as with George, whether you love him or hate him, Yankee fans should be thankful he’s working for us.
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