The Yankees hit a major league-leading 241 home runs in 2017. With the addition of slugger Giancarlo Stanton, team president Randy Levine figures that number will only go up in 2018. After all, offense does sell the tickets.
“I think [Stanton] has been a huge addition,” Levine told the New York Post at Yankee Stadium before the Pinstripe Bowl on Wednesday night. “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. I think [general manager Brian Cashman] 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.”
The Yankees’ success in 2017 was formulated by a fresh, new blend of veteran leaders and young stars, and those traits uniquely made New York a likable underdog during the postseason. But, the blockbuster trade for Stanton has revived the “Evil Empire” jeers, as the Yankees are currently favorites (5-to-1) to win next season’s World Series, according to select Las Vegas sports books.
Even if the Yankees have returned to their old ways of business, Levine doesn’t mind the criticism being voiced.
“At the end of the day, I think this is a really likable team,” Levine said. “That’s the great thing about the Yankees. It has been going on. [Chicago columnist] 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. We really came together, we’ve got a great manager and I think Giancarlo Stanton will fit in really well with everybody.”