SBD/September 9, 2010/Sports Media

Randy Levine Slams ESPN's Upcoming "30 For 30" On Steinbrenner

Documentary Focuses On Transition Into New Yankee Stadium, From George To Hal And Hank

Yankees President Randy Levine yesterday "fired verbal shots at an upcoming ESPN documentary on George Steinbrenner, calling it 'disjointed' and 'the usual news at 6,'" according to Bob Raissman of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The film, "The House of Steinbrenner," was produced by Barbara Kopple and will premiere Sept. 21 as part of ESPN's "30 for 30" documentary series. Levine said, "It was very disappointing to watch the film. She had unbelievable access to the Yankees. ... I'm not sure where she was trying to go with the story. As somebody who is an admirer of hers, I just think she swung and missed at this one." He added, "I don't mind people's opinions whether they are critical or not critical. I just thought from a great filmmaker it would say something." Levine stressed that he was "just putting on his critic hat and not speaking for the organization" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/9). On Long Island, Neil Best notes the documentary "focuses on the transitions from old to new Yankee Stadium and from George Steinbrenner to a new generation of ownership." Levine said, "Except for the interview with Hal (Steinbrenner), which I thought was exceptional and really should have been expanded, the rest of the documentary is really old, regurgitated stuff, much of it found on the News at 6, and the message of what it was trying to convey I thought was very confusing." Kopple said, "I'm very sad. I really wanted (Levine) to like it." Kopple let Yankees officials view "The House of Steinbrenner" in advance of its first public screening on Tuesday. Best notes after that screening, N.Y. Daily News cartoonist Bill Gallo said that the Yankees "asked him to have a portion of his interview in which he discussed Hank and Hal Steinbrenner removed." Gallo said that "he agreed it could have been misinterpreted and asked Kopple to delete it, and she agreed" (NEWSDAY, 9/9).

WORTH A CLOSER LOOK? In N.Y., Richard Sandomir wrote Kopple "attempts too much" with her documentary by "following too many narrative strands and talking to too many people with predictable things to say." There is "little new here about the Steinbrenners," though Kopple's "inescapable problem was the unavailability of the elder Steinbrenner through illness" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/8). But NEWSDAY's Best wrote under the header, "'The House Of Steinbrenner' Is Worth A Look." The centerpiece of the documentary is a "rare extended interview with Hal in which he discusses the differences between him and his father, including his preference for order and calm" (NEWSDAY, 9/8).

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