George Steinbrenner may have fired people on a whim, but his son Hal Steinbrenner seems to keep his front office staff for life. For example, why Yankee president Randy Levine still has a job is beyond me. He is constantly getting in the news for the wrong reasons. The latest example is how, after the Yankees won their arbitration case against homegrown reliever Dellin Betances, Levine felt the need to do a phone conference with reporters slamming Betances and his agents, and gloated about the Yankees’ victory.
Today is the first day Yankee position players report to spring training, yet the coverage is about Levine saying such stupid things. Last year at this time, the New York Yankees were involved in a kerfuffle over banning StubHub from selling their tickets. (You may remember that yours truly played a little part in that; after I was quoted in the New York Post, Lonn Trost went on WFAN to refute reports by bloggers and ended up putting his foot in his mouth about riff-raff fans in the expensive seats!) How either of these things help the Yankees sell tickets is beyond me. All they do is alienate their fan base.
Anyhow, back to Levine, the Donald Trump supporter who actually makes Trump look tame! First, according to Betances’ agent Jim Murray, Levine incorrectly called Betances “Dylan” during the arbitration hearing, and then, according to Murray, “proceeded to blame Dellin for the Yankees’ declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history while trying to bully the panel, saying something to the effect that the sky will fall if they rule for the player.” Then Levine slammed Murray and Excel Sports Management, only the second-biggest agency in sports and the organziation that represents five other Yankes. saying that Betances was a “victim” of them trying to reset the market.
I agree with Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that the arbitration system is broken and hasn’t kept up with how setup men are much more valuable these days. But this would have been a one-day story if Levine hadn’t felt the need to open up his yap. Now Betances is saying, regarding free agency, “You look at it a little differently now. I think (free agency) will be a little easier when the time comes.” And Tony Clark, head of the players’ union, called Levine’s comments “unprecedented and unprofessional.”
And I’m sorry, but the next time a fan buys a ticket specifcally to see a reliever not named Mariano Rivera will be the first time. (And even then, it was only until Mo’s last few games that fans were buying tix to see him.) So to blame Betances for the ticket sales going down is just silly.
I also know this: No Yankee fan has ever bought a ticket because of Randy Levine. Besides, wasn’t his job supposed to be working with the city at getting the team a new stadium? The new ballpark is in its ninth season now, yet Levine is still employed. Why keep this knucklehead around? Good grief.