The man behind the Yanks’ political clout

Everybody loves Brett
A-Rod, targeting May 15, heading to Tampa soon

A lot of RAB readers have taken to analogizing Yankee officials to characters from The Godfather. At issue is Tom Hagen. Which one of the Yanks’ various VIPs gets to fill that ever-popular consigliere role? Based on an article in tomorrow’s Times, Randy Levine can take pride in inheriting that mantle.

Richard Sandomir, The Times’ sports business reporter, tackles Levine in a profile a week before the Yanks’ president’s pet $2 billion project opens in the Bronx. Levine, as Sandomir puts it, has inherited the George Steinbrenner persona. He has, as Sandomir writes, “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.”

Levine has long been in the public spotlight. Prior to his term with the Yanks, he served in the Reagan Administration’s, as Rudy Giuliani’s deputy mayor and labor commissioner and as a personal lawyer to Steinbrenner. The Yankees brought him aboard in 2000 when they needed a figure well versed in the inane intricacies of New York City politics to shepherd a complex and comprehensive stadium plan through the political process.

“The Yankees wanted a leg up on the maneuvering that goes on in that system,” Giuliani said to Sandomir.

But over the years, his role has moved beyond that of a political powerbroker. He has become the blunt voice of the team. He defends the Yanks from their critics inside baseball but can come across as brash to those on his own team. He is largely blamed for the departure of Joe Torre, and it’s clear from Torre’s book that the former Yankee manager had little respect for a man who often negotiates through anger and brashness rather than through tact.

Sandomir’s article reveals little we don’t know about Levine, but he does offer glimpse into the important role he plays as team president. As Sandomir reports, Levine was integral in determining that Hal should be the Steinbrenner son to take the reins. I wonder, then, what the relationship is like between Hank and Levine.

In a way, Yankee fans long used to the presence of a George Steinbrenner should embrace Levine. He is an outspoken defender of the Yankees who isn’t above criticizing his players. At the same time, he seems like a bully.

Earlier this week, I was wondering if Levine’s power would wane now that the new stadium is completed. Based upon Sandomir’s account though, Randy Levine — the Yanks’ own Tom Hagen — won’t be pushed out any time soon. He is their war-time consigliere, and with the Yanks, it’s always time for war.

Everybody loves Brett
A-Rod, targeting May 15, heading to Tampa soon
  • carl

    lol he makes me laugh every time I see him. He’s ugly.

    • Bronx Baseball Daily

      I really wish he would either get a haircut, start wearing hats, or take a lower profile position. He’s very ugly.

      • Ben K.

        No one should ever say that RAB readers avoid the true heart of the matter.

      • John

        i dont mind as long as he helps the yanks

      • Drew

        That picture scares me.

        • John

          at least he’s (attempting to be) smiling…imagine if he wasn’t

          • Yankeegirl49

            Definitely ugly…but I’d marry him just for the tickets LOL

            • John

              gold-digger…but those seats would be really good. And you can hang out in the clubhouse with the players if you want.

  • Michael

    But Hagen wasn’t a wartime consiglieri! The war that finished with Sonny dying showed that, and when the time came for another war, Don Vito fulfilled that role for Michael. By the end of the book, Hagen has been reduced to being the family’s lawyer again.

  • Rich

    Levine personally negotiated the Randy Johnson trade on George’s behalf. He gave the D’backs the option of accepting Cano and Wang in the deal, and obviously allowed them to take Navarro even though the Yankees had no other near ML ready C behind Posada, who was entering his mid-30s. ‘Nuff said.

    • pat

      Whereas we had a plethora of young 2b?

      • Rich

        My point is that offering any of those three players was moronic.

        • Ben K.

          I think you’re making that point in hindsight. At the time, it seemed reasonable. Plus, you have to give up something to get something back. The Yanks didn’t realize they would get a lemon in Randy Johnson.

          • Rich

            Not at all. I was adamantly opposed to the Randy Johnson trade, given his age and pre-existing knee and back problems, and I still have the internet scars from fighting off posters on various blogs and boards.

            At the time, George had allocated enough money to pursue either Johnson or Beltran. Cash preferred Beltran. I was in that camp.

            • Tom Zig

              Would have been nice to get Beltran…

              The only guy we have left in the the Randy Johnson to Arizona trade is Steven Jackson.

  • Bob

    Levine is a total scumbag.

    • Ben K.

      I don’t disagree, but care to elaborate?

      • pounder

        Reagan guy, Rudy guy,determined to milk fans till we bleed.Yankees are a brand name now,not a team!

        • Ben K.

          The Yanks have been a brand since the 1923s. See Taking on the Yankees. Any other assessment is simply a romanticized rewrite of history. That doesn’t mean we don’t all love them. But their being a brand is nothing new to the 2000s.

        • Tom Zig

          Regardless of what fans may want…baseball is a business and so it will remain. I do not fault Levine for doing his job.

  • Tom Zig

    I know a lot of people don’t like Levine because of his attitude and way of going about things, but you got to admit that he does an excellent job. The personality matches the job.