Jun 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson (left) talks with chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon before the start of a game against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

On the Mets and Wally Backman

The Mets and Wally Backman-there’s a topic that never seems to get old. With the recent dismissal of hitting coach Dave Hudgens, many are speculating that Terry Collins may be the next to go. Naturally, with that speculation comes thoughts of the second baseman on the 1986 World Champions, and current Las Vegas manager, taking the reigns.

Many fans have been clamoring for Backman since Jerry Manuel was shown the door after the 2010 season. I’ve always dismissed the concept, sometimes with a derisive sneer. I was a Mets fan in 1986, and old enough to attend every post season home game. I fondly remember Wally Backman. In fact, he’s my prototypical player. Wally will do anything to win. He’ll take on a guy twice his size, he’ll bunt, he’ll steal, he’ll bite the head off a rattlesnake. However, I never saw him as a fit for Sandy Alderson’s Mets. The fact is, Mets fans love Wally, but Alderson has no such connection.

However, in the past 24 hours, I’ve changed my mind on possibly having Wally fill out the lineup card every night. Here are a few reasons why.

  • The Mets are desperate to reconnect with their fan base. The current disconnect is palpable. Backman could galvanize the faithful to rally around the blue and orange.
  • The Mets need better players to win, that is indisputable. However, given Alderson’s recent comments that the team will spend when the revenue generated supports it, we have to accept that there will be no sudden spending spree. The low-budget, “pray for Oakland success approach” will continue indefinitely. A change in the manager’s office may be a singular move that can be made that will have a significant impact.
  • The Mets are trying to win with youth (Bobby Abreu aside). Backman knows many of the young players, and has a track record of success in winning with young players in the minor leagues.
  • The Mets play in Citi Field. Rather than complaining about the park’s dimensions, the Mets need to have the park be their friend (in the words of the immortal Keith Hernandez). Wally Backman epitomized small ball as a player. I’m not suggesting that the Mets become the 1985 Cardinals. However, recognizing the value of occasional small ball, and being able to execute on the concept, could serve the team well.

Yes, the Wally Backman as manager talk has grown old. However, at least to me, the concept is becoming more and more sensible.

Would you like to see Wally Backman manage the Mets?



Next Mets Game View full schedule »
Tuesday, Sep 22 Sep7:10at Miami MarlinsBuy Tickets

Tags: Jerry Manuel Terry Collins Wally Backman

  • ZG

    Flat out. Yes. I’m one of those that have wanted him since they fired Willie.

  • lovemymets

    I’d love Wally to manage the Mets, but under Wilpon ownership that will NEVER happen. He’s too volatile, outspoken and unpredictable to their liking. The Wilpons also shy from the back-page headlines and as the past has shown us, as soon as an employee says or does anything suspect, they’re history (David Cone, Kevin Mitchell, etc., etc.). They don’t have to be guilty of anything, as soon as they get on the wrong side of the Wilpons, they’re disassociated from the team. Talk to Ray Knight — he STILL doesn’t know what he did to piss them off. Ownership doesn’t want to worry about Wally saying or doing the wrong thing. They prefer a manager who’s grateful for the job, ala Terry Collins, who doesn’t speak out, keeps his mouth shut and plays the part of puppet nicely. I like Terry Collins and I can’t blame him for this 2014 team. Sandy’s fingerprints are all over it, and if the axe swings, it’s Sandy’s head who ought to come off. Sandy Alderson’s four-year honeymoon is up, whether his hands are financially tied or not. The fans were promised better days once the big contracts came off the books and all we got in return was another round of misspent money. Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon and Chris Young were all disastrous signings. I am hopeful that Colon will go in a trade, but glad that Young only got a one-year deal (albeit for $7 million — ugh!). I’m also hoping that Granderson will either eventually get better or we’ll dump him (and his mega contract) elsewhere. Gotta wonder why the Yankees didn’t want him back when the Yankee Stadium right field porch was built for his left-handed bat. They could’ve saved money by re-signing him and pass on the Ellsbury and Beltran contracts. Why didn’t they? What do they know that we don’t?

  • http://batman-news.com Mike B

    Yes. TC not much of a thinker/gambler. I like taking chances, hit and run, sb’s, getting sacrfices down. I’m not necessarily a small ball guy, but with Grandy, CY and Duda killioing rallies, we’re going to have to try something. If someone like CY can’t bunt and can’t hit and run, he shouldn’t play. That simple.

  • Ken Meoni

    Bring the whole staff up from AAA. I have to agree with lovemymets though. Wally will………tell it like it is and not be able to be the yes man that not only the Wilpons want, but SA wants. SA has to go, the Wilpons have to go. Wally would need that to happen first, otherwise he won’t have a chance to do things his way. Which btw, is the right way.

  • SL

    Sadly, it will never happen. And worse, I spent Memorial day, or part of it, watching on Youtube the documentary series about the South Coast League and Wally’s team there from 2008. It made me admire his managing even more.
    More than that, he demonstrated an ability to recognize talent as he drafted his team that won the league championship.
    The simple fact is this – Wally has won everywhere he’s been in the minors. He was deemed qualified by the Diamondbacks before they railroaded him about the misreported “incident”.
    I hope that if the Mets don’t bring him up, some other team will give him a shot.
    He will be a success as a manger, that’s for sure.

  • BayRidge Phantom

    I like Terry Collins. I don’t blame him for the team’s woes.

    But if Collins is let go, I’d hire Wally Backman in a NY second. He wins.

  • Not4Nutten

    The Ownership is afraid to promote Wally, they probably think that he’s a loose cannon. It’s only a matter of time before some other team will give him a chance in the Big Leagues, Sadly, it won’t happen here!