Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Randy Levine Cries Boo-Hoo Over Criticism

Randy Levine continues to insist he doesn't mind criticism while weeping and wailing over the criticism he's faced for his role in dumping Joe Torre -- a man Levine adamantly wanted fired and has never suggested otherwise. Levine's latest tirade is his most bizarre. He tells the NYTimes that his biggest critics all have conflicts of interest they didn't disclose and therefore you should take what they say with a grain of salt. Instead of refuting his bizarre assertions, the Times gives them legitimacy. To wit:

1. Levine says John Kruk of ESPN singled him out but didn't mention the conflict of interest: Kruk shares the same agent as Joe -- Kruk says he didn't even mention Levine by name and just criticized the Yankees as a whole. So which is it? Kruk convincingly makes his case. Did the NYTimes check the video or a transcript? There's no debate here. Either Kruk mentioned Levine or he didn't. If he didn't, why is the Times letting Levine attack him?

2. Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated criticized the firing of Torre but didn't mention the fact that he'd written a book with Joe a decade ago. Fair enough. Verducci should have mentioned it, though it was a bestseller and widely known and hardly a little known fact; he can hardly be accused of failing to mention an UNKNOWN link to Torre -- he just failed to remind readers of his close relationship with Torre. It's obviously public record to the nth degree. So it would have been better to mention in an aside but hardly damning. Saying Torre and Verducci had "a financial relationship" (a decade ago, mind you) as if it negates what Verducci says is silly.

3. But Levine's first and most prominent complaint is also the most ridiculous -- he says Mike and the Mad Dog (Chris Russo) attacked him but never revealed the fact that Levine has challenged the desirability of simulcasting their radio show on YES. They signed a three year deal that expires next year and know Levine was unhappy with it. They appear on the Yankee-owned YES network. For the love of God, those are all reasons why they would have a conflict of interest in KEEPING QUIET. They're appearing on the Yankee's YES network and criticizing the Yankees. If they had a conflict of interest, it was to keep their mouths shut about Levine and not antagonize him before their contract renewal talks next season. THEY'RE ON YES. The confict is in the pressure to be lapdogs. Speaking up and criticizing DESPITE the problems it could and will cause them is a sign of journalistic independence, not in Levine's topsy-turvy world a sign that their word doesn't count for much. Two guys he wanted fired criticized him and he thinks that's a conflict? That's a sign of courage. Not bringing their contract dispute into the debate was appropriate since it wasn't germane to the issue. They certainly never imagind their critique would get Levine fired so they knew they were making trouble for themselves. Good for them.

Levine is such a putz he doesn't even know what a conflict of interest amounts to; maybe he needs some ethics training? Get used to the boos Levine: Your four biggest deals have all been disasters as far as the fans are concerned.

1. You trumpeted the signing of Randy Johnson -- a disaster and only a fool couldn't have seen that going in.

2. You trumpeted the A-Rod deal -- disaster by your own personal standard of not going to and winning the World Series. You paid top dollar for a player who's never even BEEN to the World Series. God help us if you pay the moon to keep A-Rod in an attempt to appease fans angry over Joe. (Not all Five O'Clockers agree with me on this.)

3. You wanted Torre out and were glad to see him go and worse you helped arrange an offer so simple-minded that Torre made you look like classless schmucks.

4. You are all over the new Stadium, which was clearly designed with no thought for the fans. Cavernous, petty (by squeezing in regular seats in front of the bleachers), stupid (by putting bullpens in FRONT of the fans and keeping the fans farther away from the field), monstrous with no desire for class or elegance or an intimate exciting atmosphere.... As soon as people get a gander at this thing when it's done, you're going to be booed all over again.

I don't boo players but I won't hesitate to boo you. You've failed for seven seasons to put together a winning team. You gave up more of the YES network than you should have to outside investors, costing the Steinbrenners untold tens of millions if not more. You embody al the bad traits of Steinbrenner and you know nothing about baseball. That would be fine for a suit, but you don't KNOW that you know nothing about baseball and that makes you dangerous. Fire yourself.

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