Giancarlo Stanton already is going deep for the Yankees. That is the impression of team president Randy Levine, who said at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday before Boston College played Iowa in the Pinstripe Bowl: “I think he has been a huge addition. He’s the MVP of the National League, he’s a great player and our fan base is excited. We’re doing very well, we’re selling a lot of tickets.
“He’s a great, great player, he’s an exciting player, he seems to be very excited to be here,” Levine said, adding of general manager Brian Cashman, “I think Cash and the baseball people did a great job. I know he’s upstairs, working; not finished. We’re hopeful that there’s more stuff to be done before spring training and Opening Day.
“We’re the Yankees, we always want to get better and I think he’s always looking to get better. And Hal [Steinbrenner] is always looking to make us better. What that is, I’ll leave it to those guys upstairs.”
Levine spoke enthusiastically about the college football game at the Stadium, noting that the sport had a special place in the heart of George Steinbrenner. So did acquiring big-name talent for the Yankees. Stanton’s trade from the Marlins fits that template, evoking the “Evil Empire” taunts from Red Sox fans.
Having said during a formal news conference that the Yankees “welcome people from Boston this time of year,” Levine laughed and said, “At the end of the day, I think this is a really likable team. That’s the great thing about the Yankees. It has been going on. Mike Royko wrote back in the ’30s or ’40s: ‘Hating the Yankees is as American as eating pizza pie and cheating on your taxes.’ As long as we’re relevant and people are thinking about us, that’s the best part.
“I think this team has a lot of personality, has a lot of great, great young players,” he said. “We really came together, we’ve got a great manager and I think Giancarlo Stanton will fit in really well with everybody.”
Runner-up shows no ill will. There are evidently no hard feelings about having been runner-up to the Islanders in the bid for development rights at Belmont. The Yankees-affiliated New York City Football Club was the other finalist for the site. It wanted to build an outdoor soccer stadium but lost out to the Islanders’ plan for an arena.
“I don’t know much about it. That was one of the sites New York City Football Club was looking at. There are several other sites,” Levine said. Referring to the Islanders co-owner, who attended at least one playoff game at Yankee Stadium this past season, he added, “I didn’t really get into the feasibility study with the Islanders, but Jon Ledecky is a pretty smart guy so I trust he knows what he’s doing.”