NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Yankees president Randy Levine says Bobby Valentine “should be silent and remember” after the former Mets manager claimed New York’s American League club was nowhere to be found following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
Valentine said he’d take the advice — and then doubled down on his original stance Thursday.
“Let it be said that during the time from 9/11 to 9/21, the Yankees were (not around),” Valentine told WFAN radio’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Wednesday. “You couldn’t find a Yankee on the streets of New York City. You couldn’t find a Yankee down at Ground Zero, talking to the guys who were working 24/7.”
He added: “Many of them didn’t live here, and so it wasn’t their fault. And many of them did not partake in all that, so there was some of that jealousy going around. Like, ‘Why are we so tired? Why are we wasted? Why have we been to the funerals and the firehouses, and the Yankees are getting all the credit for bringing baseball back?’ And I said ‘This isn’t about credit, guys. This is about doing the right thing.’”
“It’s very sad that Bobby Valentine would pick this day,” Levine told Newsday. “This is a day for reflection and prayer. The Yankees have always remembered the heroes of 9/11 and continue to do so. What Bobby Valentine should understand is that nobody wants to hear about his opinion as to who does what better. He should be silent and remember.”
Members of the Yankees, including Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter and manager Joe Torre, visited rescue staging areas at the Jacob Javits Center, the Armory and St. Vincent’s Hospital four days after the attacks.
“This is not the day to point fingers at anybody,” Levine said. “This is a day to reflect. Moreover, since he only thinks about himself, he must have forgotten when the Yankees visited Ground Zero, St. Vincent’s Hospital, the Armory, the Javits Center, where rescue crews were working.”
Valentine emailed the paper to say he’d take Levine’s suggestion.
“Sorry,” Valentine wrote to Newsday. “I must have missed that. If it was between the 11th and the 20th (of September) it was my mistake. I might have missed it. I will follow Randy’s lead and be silent.”
But then he went on NBC Sports Radio and essentially challenged Levine to produce photographic evidence of the Yankees pitching in post-9/11.
“I don’t know if I was trying to take credit for the team. I was trying to make a fact, that 12 years of hearing what was done and (hearing) it reported incorrectly, I just thought I’d speak for the record that, that week, there weren’t any Yankees out there,” Valentine said Thursday. “And if there were, Mr. Levine can just come up with a photograph of somebody at a firehouse or a funeral or at someone’s house.
“All I remember is people asking for the Yankees and me making excuses for them not being there.”
WFAN morning show hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton were baffled by Valentine’s response.
“I mean, basically you’re taking the one of the worst things — if not the single worst thing — that’s ever happened to America, to the Tri-State area, to people in your backyard, your neighbors, etc., and you’re kind of making a mockery of it, right? Twelve years later,” Carton said.
“That must have been stewing in Bobby’s belly for 12 years, no? For him to then suddenly come out and say it, and then when he can just quietly go away on it, to further the agenda?”
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