NY Sports Dog: The Case for Wally Backman

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Case for Wally Backman

As the losses continue to pile up for the Mets, the question seems to be changing--what was once "will Jerry Manuel get fired" has become "when will he get fired, and who will replace him?"

The answer is Wally Backman.

Backman has seven years of managerial experience and was hired by the Diamondbacks as their manager before being dismissed because of legal (and moral) issues.

His managerial style is fiery (to say the least), and he's known for ejections, on-field tantrums, and suspensions.

In other words--the opposite of Jerry.

In 2004 Backman led his team to the California League championship series and was named The Sporting News' Minor League Manager of the Year.  It was at this point that the Mets and the DBacks came calling, and Backman was actually hired by the Diamondbacks to become their manager for the 2005 season.

Then life bit Backman harder than a brown recluse spider--word came out about a previous DUI conviction, legals issues of harassment, 10 days in jail, probation and bankruptcy.  The DBacks quickly dismissed him and life in baseball purgatory began for the former Met.

After working with some Independent Leagues the Mets hired Backman as manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones for the 2010 campaign.

As part of the deal the Mets conducted a thorough background check and they came away convinced that Backman's issues are behind him.  That said, the team is taking a cautious approach and they have Backman on a very short leash.

My personal opinion is that Wally is exactly what this club needs right now.  He works well with young players, would light a fire under the vets, and his handling of the bullpen in the minors was exemplary.

He is everything Jerry Manuel is not.

There is likely a zero percent chance that Backman takes the reigns this year as Mets skipper, but he could be the lightning in a bottle the club desperately needs.

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1997 Catskill Cougars Northeast League 3-23 8th Independent Leagues replaced Edgar Perez (18-39)
1998 Bend Bandits Western Baseball League 43-46 5th Independent Leagues
1999 Tri-City Posse Western Baseball League 48-42 2nd Independent Leagues League Champs
2000 Tri-City Posse Western Baseball League 40-50 6th Independent Leagues
2001 Winston-Salem Warthogs Carolina League 54-86 8th Chicago White Sox
2002 Birmingham Barons Southern League 79-61 1st Chicago White Sox League Champs
2003 Birmingham Barons Southern League 73-64 3rd Chicago White Sox Lost in 1st round
2004 Lancaster JetHawks California League 86-54 2nd Arizona Diamondbacks Lost League Finals
2007 South Georgia Peanuts South Coast League 59-28 1st Independent Leagues League Champs
2008 Joliet JackHammers Northern League 43-53 5th Independent Leagues
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1 comment:

the Brooklyn Trolley Blogger said...

Backman? Fair. But can the Wilpons deal with the scrutiny that comes with Backman's baggage? I'm no one's judge but the Wilpons won't even allow newspapers in the clubhouse to keep the negativity away. I know hiring him in Brooklyn kinda answers that, but what happens on the big club is always different. Does Omar get to make his third hire now? Please just don't tell me Bob Melvin.

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