December 7, 2012
Levine: Pictures of party at your house circulating all around tonight … Guys in rehab don’t do this. This is not the sedate, small party you […] said. You need to focus on getting better.
Rodriguez: Been prehabbing every day. Pete [Draovitch, a trainer] arrives in Miami tomorrow. Is nice to disconnect a bit in the off season. But I understand your point. Really looking forward to getting mended.
Levine: Just looking out for you.
January 29, 2013
The Miami New Times publishes a story accusing Rodriguez and other Major League ballplayers of using banned substances provided by Florida-based anti-aging clinic Biogenesis. Rodriguez denies the charges. Publicly, the Yankees stay neutral, insisting they will wait for the outcome of Major League Baseball’s investigation. But there are constant rumors that the Yankees are rooting for his injuries to force him into retirement. In one call, Dr. Bryan Kelly tells Rodriguez what he claims Levine had said: “Levine told me the Yankees would rather Alex never step on the baseball field [again],” says a person who overhears a conversation. Levine can’t recall the conversation with Kelly, as he tells one colleague, but believes that he “might” have used words to the following effect: “Alex, this is your health, this is your life, if you choose to get off the field because you don’t want to be disabled, we’re fine with that.” Rodriguez decides to have the surgery.
February 28, 2013
Rodriguez: Randy, […] As you can imagine, I’m feeling left out, I can’t be with the team at spring training and this leaves an empty hole in my life. And on top of that I’m dealing with the backlash of all these ugly rumors and false stories. […] Of course I am very concerned about these rumors and about what the team is doing and saying about me. … People have been telling me that you have an 8% bounty on my contract.[…] Maybe all of this is coming from my cousin […], who knows. He claims he met with the Yankees and that you are after me and it has me concerned. I hope this [e-mail] is the start of us clearing the air between us. I don’t want us to be enemies. I am loyal to the team. I only want the best for the Yankees organization. But I do need reassurance from you and I need to know what is going on. It is bad business for everyone.
Levine: First off, neither I nor anyone at Yankees every met with your cousin. This is being handled by MLB and we r allowing them to do their job. There is no bounty on you. We have no idea who MLB is meeting with or what course their investigation is taking. It is entirely in their hands. We r not talking to the media on this issue, we have said this is being handled by MLB, and we will have no comment until the investigation is over. That’s it. There is nothing else going on. I wish u health and a good rehab.
In the summer, Rodriguez says he is ready to rejoin the team. In the past, that had prompted pep talks and cheers from Levine. Now Levine appears preoccupied by legal maneuverings. The nicknames are a thing of the past. Instead, he refers to his star as “Al.”
July 3, 2013
Levine: Hey Al, glad ur on ur way back. Quick question: some lawyer named James McCaroll [one of Rodriguez’s lawyers] keeps calling Hal [Steinbrenner, co-chair and managing general partner of the Yankees], says he is your lawyer, wants to talk about your investments. I called him. He is not taking my calls. Is he your guy? If so, have him call me. If not, you should have someone shut him down.
Rodriguez: Thanks for the good wishes. I’m focusing 100% of my energy on health, baseball, and returning to help us win. I will talk to Jim.
With Levine and Rodriguez barely speaking, the star and his team duel through the media.
August 3, 2013
Rodriguez: Can u please stop!! I want to play baseball and I could make a big difference to the game. Steinbrenner would roll in his grave IF he knew what was happening! Stop, Randy, this isn’t going to be good for any of us!! You are a businessman and what you are doing is ruining the business of baseball. If u want to meet in person to discuss it, let’s do it!
August 5, 2013
Levine: I received your email, the contents of which are a complete shock to me. As I have repeatedly told you, this is an MLB investigation. We had no role in initiating the investigation or assisting in the direction of the investigation. Despite your continued false accusations (which you know are false) we have acted consistently. My focus and direction, as well as that of the entire Yankees organization, has been, and continues to be, to treat you in the same manner as we do all of our players, to have you healthy and ready to play as soon as possible. Good luck.
That day, MLB announces a record 211-game suspension of Rodriguez. Because Rodriguez plans to appeal, he is permitted to continue playing. A couple of hours later, Rodriguez takes his first at-bat of 2013, blooping a single, his only hit in four at-bats in the Yankees’ loss to the White Sox. Levine’s is the last e-mail between them.