Via Richard Sandomir:
When politicians questioned the propriety of the Yankees’ $1.2 billion in tax-exempt bonds for their new stadium, Randy Levine, the team’s president, scolded them for having their facts wrong or for failing to examine similar financing for the Mets’ Citi Field.
When the Milwaukee Brewers’ owner criticized the Yankees for signing $423.5 million in free agents this off-season, Levine countered, as he frequently has: we follow the rules, so don’t tell us how to invest our money.
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.