Craig Calcaterra

Randy Levine

Yankees president Randy Levine thinks you’re an idiot


We’ve talked for years about how taxpayers subsidize baseball stadiums via tax exemptions for the owners, bonds or direct expenditure of tax dollars for the construction and operation of sports facilities. The fact such things exist is not exactly controversial, even if the reason for their existing is. No one actually claims, outside of a couple of examples, like San Francisco and some of the older parks, that ballparks are not at least in some ways subsidized by taxpayers.

But Yankees President Randy Levine. Does. Or at least he wants you to believe that and is willing to tell you that up is down and black is white in the hopes that you do.

That is apparent in Michael Powell’s interview with Levine in the New York Times. An interview in which Levine actually tries to argue that Yankee Stadium is like some mom and pop shop, built with the elbow grease of businessmen like himself as opposed to the dollars of taxpayers:

Mr. Levine opened our discussion with a big play.

“There are no subsidies,” he said.

He folded that hand soon enough. According to the city’s Independent Budget Office, the stadium received about $270 million in federal tax-exempt financing. There was an additional $58 million for the parking garages, which the Yankees don’t own but from which they benefit.

“The bonds don’t cost the city or the state anything,” Mr. Levine said. “It costs federal taxpayers all over the country.”

That might not comfort a taxpaying plumber in Tulsa.

The city and state gave the Yankees a $40 million sales tax exemption on their construction costs. Mr. Levine argues that the stadium now generates sales tax, which is true but is beside the point. Most women and men start businesses without government subsidies and pay sales tax.

Levine goes on to argue that other public assistance to the Yankees — the building of a train station, the granting them public parkland to build Yankee Stadium and the subsequent construction of another park to replace it — are all things that are good for the public. Gifts to them, even, that he sort of implies they should thank the Yankees for. In this Levine sounds like one of those crooked Enron executives who argued that liabilities on balance sheets were actually assets.

Powell is having none of this and explains how all of these things and many other aspects of the construction of Yankee Stadium were clearly functions of, in essence, public welfare. A spending of public money that many if not most people were no doubt happy with, but a spending of public money all the same. The issue isn’t whether it was a good idea to do all of this — people can totally think it was — it’s whether or not it was, in fact, a gift. All of which, Powell, points out, is rather rich when you hear Levine rail against revenue sharing as some sort of abhorrent form of socialism.

Which is pretty typical of the class of people who hang with Levine. Welfare? The use of tax dollars to assist others? Public works? Bah! That’s socialism! Unless of course they need it, then tax dollars freely given are just part of the genius of capitalism.

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

Atlanta Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski, left, shakes hands with pitcher Matt Wisler, right, after the Braves defeated the Miami Marlins 6-5 in 10 innings of a baseball game, Sunday, April 17, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Two teams without wins enter the weekend and each of them sweep their series. This, my friends, is why baseball does not lend itself well to two-hour pregame shows and hours and upon hours of talk radio breaking things down to the nth degree. Things change fast in this sport and what happened yesterday has little bearing on what happens today. Baseball isn’t prone to IN DEPTH BREAKDOWNS. Baseball just . . . happens. Maybe someone should do a show about that. About how that just happened. Hmmm . . .

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights.

Yankees 4, Mariners 3: A-Rod was 0-for-19 and then hit a two-run homer. Maybe he’s done. I have no idea. 40-year-olds are often toast before they realize it, but he got around on that one. Masahiro Tanaka beat Hisashi Iwakuma. They used to play together for Rakuten in NPB. All the stories about this make some reference to “his old friend . . . ” in some way. They probably are friends. I’m going to choose to believe, however, without reading further, that they actually have a long-simmering feud over, say, a woman. Or a promise one made to another over strong drink, later broken. “Ah, yes, I beat my old friend,” Tanka says to the press. But deep down there are scars that will never heal. Sorry, just makes it all the more interesting for me.

Mets 6, Indians 0: Steven Matz was declared dead and there was much panic after his first start but then came back and struck out nine and allowed three hits over seven innings, which makes me think that the Mets coverage tends to skew toward unreasonable extremes. He was just mostly dead, I guess. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do . . . go through his clothes and look for loose change.

Braves 6, Marlins 5: Braves win three in a row! They gonna go 153-9 now, I presume. In other news, on Friday night as I was watching them win their first game of the season, one of my Twitter correspondents informed me that Peter Buck of R.E.M. came up with the idea for — and the mandolin line to — “Losing My Religion” while watching the 54-106 1988 Atlanta Braves on TV with the sound down. I was probably watching the same games as him at the time and all I came up with were increasingly implausible fantasies about how I was gonna get some sophomore girl to notice me. Oh well, genius works in varying ways. OK, the 2016 Braves aren’t going to win 153 games. But here’s hoping they, like their similarly futile 1988 counterparts, inspire a great song in a couple of years.

Twins 3, Angels 2: Oswaldo Arcia walked ’em off with a single to score Byron Buxton in the 12th inning, giving the Twins a three-game sweep. I’m going to assume that Prince or the Replacements or someone wrote a great song while watching the Twins lose 91 games in 1986 and that someone will likewise do so in Minneapolis this summer.

Rays 3, White Sox 2: Matt Moore struck out 10 over six and a third innings and Brandon Guyer had four hits. It seems like forever ago that Moore had Tommy John surgery, but he’s still just coming back from it, having made only 12 starts last year in that “man, I just don’t have my command back yet” phase of TJ recovery.

Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 3: The Jays salvage one. Edwin Encarnacion has two singles and an RBI and Jose Bautista went long. Aaron Sanchez allowed two hits in seven innings of one-run ball.

Phillies 4, Nationals 2: Jonathan Papelbon came into the game in the bottom of the 10th for the one-run save against his former team. And his former team shoved it down his throat, with Andres Blanco hitting an RBI single and Freddy Galvis hitting an RBI double as Papelbon gave up three hits in all.

Pirates 9, Brewers 3: The Buccos rattled off 17 hits against Brewers pitchers. Andrew McCutchen homered for the second day in a row, Sean Rodriguez had a two-run homer and Josh Harrison and John Jaso each had two hits as the Pirates took two of three from Milwaukee to end a brief four-game skid.

Astros 5, Tigers 4Jose Altuve hit a leadoff home run and had three RBI while George Springer hit a solo shot. While it came in a loss, Ian Kinsler had a helluva day. He hit a two-run homer and then, in the field, he let a Tyler White pop up fall in front of him in order to throw out Colby Rasmus at second. The announcers thought it was an infield fly rule situation at first but it wasn’t because that only applies with force outs at multiple bases. This was just a thing where Kinsler made it so the faster runner, Rasmus, was exchanged for a slower runner in White. Some good deep diving on this play here, including some history as to how this kind of play actually led to the creation of the infield fly rule, even though it didn’t actually apply in this case.

Cardinals 4, Reds 3: Subbing for Yadi Molina, Eric Fryer had three hits, including a go-ahead double with two outs in the eighth inning. He’s 6-for-6 on the year. He should retire now, tied for the all-time highest single-season batting average.

Rockies 2, Cubs 0: Two homers for Nolan Arenado who continues to remind everyone that he’s a ridiculously good baseball player trapped on an otherwise bad team. Also good: Tyler Chatwood, who had seven shutout innings while allowing only two hits. He’s had two TJ surgeries, by the way. It’s always good to see a guy like that come up big.

Athletics 3, Royals 2Josh Reddick hit a sacrifice fly to score the go-ahead run in the eighth, but that run came in the form of Billy Burns, who had just tripled to set it all up. Reddick gets the RBI, but Burns would get the assist if this was somehow basketball.

Diamondbacks 7, Padres 3: Yasmany Tomas homered twice, drove in three and scored three. This all came hours after the Dbacks dropped a 14-inning game that took 5 hours, 25 minutes, so you figure they were all gassed. Probably felt like I did all day Sunday after giving blood on Saturday. I’ve given blood a bunch of times before, but for some reason this time it made me crazy-fatigued. So basically I’m just like a professional ballplayer who just played a 14-inning game.

Dodgers 3, Giants 1: Down 1-0 in the fifth, Joc Pederson hit a two-run homer that ended up being enough to win the game even if L.A. added an insurance run later. Kenta Maeda allowed his first run of the year, but only that run, to get the win. He’s now 2-0 with 0.47 ERA and 15 strikeouts and four walks in 19 innings.

Orioles vs. Rangers — POSTPONED: I feel the toxins fill my blood stream as I’m walking through the parking lot
Over and over and over and over and over and over
The clouds hanging over
Choking the life out of me
The motto seems to be
“We work in order to be free”

It’s the black sheets of rain
Following me again
Everywhere I go
Everywhere I’ve been
Following me again

Jacob deGrom could not complete his bullpen session today

New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, April 8, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)


Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom has been suffering from a sore muscle in his right side. He was scheduled to throw a bullpen session at the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla. today and tried to, but it didn’t work out. Marc Carig of Newsday reports that he wasn’t physically good enough to throw a full bullpen today and added that “it doesn’t sound promising.”

The Mets may now be forced to place deGrom on the disabled list, as Terry Collins said yesterday that he’s loathe to play with the team shorthanded for much longer than he already has. Logan Verrett started Wednesday for deGrom, who was in Florida for the birth of his child. His next start is scheduled for Tuesday, but at the moment it doesn’t sound promising.