Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Joe Girardi interviewed for the managerial job yesterday with the Yankee brass down in Tampa (Pete Abraham has audio from Girardi). Hank Steinbrenner and his brother, Hal, are suddenly in the spotlight. Donnie Baseball is up next; Tony Pena follows tomorrow.
Here are updates on Mo, Jorgie and Alex.
Meanwhile, Randy Levine does not think he has been treated objectively by the media in the past week. Richard Sandomir has more in the Times.
So basically it was a lot of talk on the general principles of managing, pleasantries being exchanged, and really not much else...
IMO anyway. I expect a Mattingly interview to be even less interesting...
2 I can't even imagine what Mattingly's would sound like.
(i knew i forgot something.)
As for Levine, I am glad to see he is defending himself. The conflict of interest bwteen the media and Joe is glaring, so I think any intelligent person knows to take the hatchet jobs with a grain of salt.
If you consider Levine's vital role in establishing YES and negotiating sweetheart contract deals for the new Stadium, his contribution to the Yankees since 2000 has arguably been more positive than Joe Torre's. You can dismiss Levine as simply a business man, but the history of the Yankees shows that when the business is run well, the team plays well on the field. There have been two periods when the Yankees have been a mess on the filed: Pre-1915 during the reign of corrupt politicos Devery and Farrell; and 1965-1973 when the team was owned by CBS, which had no idea how to intergrate a sports team into its media portfolio. Right now, the Yankees are doing very well from a business standpoint, and Levine definitely deserves a lot of credit for that.
He was the point man - the only voice, really - on what he knew might be an unpopular decision. Did he really think everyone would just take the "we wanted him, but he rejected us" story at face value, just because he said so?
Maybe people have been blaming him unfairly; I know Zack thinks so. But he makes himself look even worse by questioning the integrity of his critics. Isn't it possible that they're criticizing him because that's what they think? M&MD, and Kruk, may be idiots, but I've never thought they were dishonest idiots.
This is the guy who went straight from being Giuliani's Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Planning and Administration, to negotiating a Stadium deal with the city. And he's talking about the appearance of a conflict of interest?
Whether you support the Yankee management's position or not, Levine looks very small responding to his critics. He really needs to issue a short reply asserting his position and not respond to specific things said, otherwise he looks like Bobby Valentine and Tony LaRussa and other thin-skinned egomaniacs.
I think it was mentioned in another thread, but Neil deMause's Field of Schemes is essential reading for getting better insight into just how greasy a swindler Levine is. He is certainly no friend of NY taxpayers.
"And sometimes, you just have to shoot Giambi - er, the horse - because he can't run anymore."
10 Thank you. I thought one of the Steinbrothers was involved in the horse business, but I didn't remember which one.
http://tinyurl.com/29379 (2nd item in column)
I would prefer he stays out of the baseball side of things, though. It seems that every time he opens his mouth, he comes off looking bad (or worse).
Levine reminds me a lot of Larry Lucchino (another business-side slimey slimeball, who always comes off bad (or worse) when he opens his mouth, and shouldn't butt in on baseball-related matters). RSN is much happier when Larry keeps his mouth shut. I will be much happier when Levine shuts his. I hope to God its soon.
15 Levine didn't state hos critics shouldn't fire away; just that they should disclose their conflicts. Sandomir did disclose his conflict, so there is no double standard. Speaking of conflict, M&MD bigger conflict is that they ended their interview with Joe saying something like we'll be in touch and maintain a relationship long after this show. I don't think the business conflicts are as noteworthy as the fact that many media members consider Joe their friend.
18 They couldn't make it because they refused to leave early. Also, if you recall, the year before, Selig forced the Yankees to start a game in Baltimore with a hurricane on the way. Predictably, the game was rained out and the Yankees had to bus it out of Baltimore. Finally, it's kind of funny that one of your links is to the D'Rays website, considering our discussion of conflicts.
Previously, he was a high-powered labor and employment lawyer at a large New York law firm. His only baseball experience is as a labor negotiator.
He is not qualified to make any decisions regarding the manager, coaches or players.
M&MD have never made a secret of who they have relationships with. Francesa's been close friends with Parcells for a long time, and he's always been entirely straightforward about it. They're also not news reporters, and they don't really have any obligation to be even-handed. Wuite the opposite, in fact - they're paid to be opinionated.
Here, Francesa consistently described himself as "a Torre guy" from the beginning. Russo said he was less so, but respected Torre a lot. What's the problem?
"While Levine may help on devising contract offers, I don't think he decides to whom those offers are made."
You don't "think"? Its what you think vs. what others think. How is that different from anyone else's suggestion of what role he has?
Smart and demeaning comment welcomed.
This site went from decent baseball analysis to hand-wringing in a flash.
Torre went from someone who's (mis)management could be discussed to damn near infallible in a matter of days.
The point of all this discussion is not to point out that Levine makes nothing but wrong decisions or isn't entitled to respond to his critics, or kicks babies in his spare time (at least, not the last time I checked). The point is that when you make decisions and issue statements with public consequences, you shouldn't be surprised if you're held accountable for them.
Accountability is something that Levine shouldn't be exempt from, given we've all been screaming about how a certain manager should be accountable.
Finally, it would be nice to believe that business is business and the way one's words come across shouldn't matter, but Levine attracts unwanted attention precisely because of the way he carries himself and makes the statements he does. This sort of thing does matter when the Yankees sell tickets and merchandise, attract free agents, and generally go about doing business.
William, I think you're doing a fine job of being in the minority today.
Throwing stones from glass houses is kinda dangerous, ya know?
There are several people I disagree with here, but most have made good points even if I disagree. I'm still waiting for "decent" analysis from you, markp. It might help if you characterize your opponents' points with just a bit more subtlety.
Saying that everyone who disagrees with you thinks Torre is a "saint" is a very bad start.
Because he's a good speaker?
Or the horse show business or whateverthefuck it was.
Oh Brownie - I almost forgot about him and his horse shows.
24 The idea that Levine is making baseball decisions is a significant conclusion, so I think it has the burden of proof. I am not sure why you think that argument is demeaning to you, but so be it.
26 Your post seemed to imply the links would be scathing accounts of Levine's role, so I apologize for getting that impression. I am not sure, however, why you think Levine doesn't want to be held accountable. Sandomir's column simply said Levine thought those attacking him should reveal their conflicts.
32 I am sure Levine is very much held accountability for the economic pursuits he oversees. Judging by the Yankees increasing business success, I have a feeling the Steinbrenners think he is doing a pretty good job. Everyone clamoring for the Yankees to throw money at Jorge, Mo and Arod should take that into account as they rip into Levine.
Second: I don't think any position has the 'burden of proof'. Burden of proof is for lawyers in court rooms. The rest of us just look at all the evidence available and decide what makes most sense to believe, where the balance of the evidence points. The whole concept of burden of proof just doesn't apply to us.
As for his criticisms of M&MD etc., you may feel he's got a point. However, it's a poorly-considered, self-justifying point that can only make him look worse.
35 It's normally considered that the burden of proof rests on the person making a positive assertion.
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