New York Mets News

Brooklyn is Now Wally Backman’s World

By Adam Garnett

I am a few days late on this one, but I wanted to throw out a little analysis on the injection of one Wally Backman back into the Mets organization. As you know, Backman was hired to be the next manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets low Single-A squad in the NY-Penn League. I don’t say this often, but bravo to the Wilpons for allowing this to happen and Jerry Manuel…watch your back brother.

Backman, who was hired by the Diamondbacks back in 2004 to be their manager but was subsequently fired 4 days later for not divulging details of his past indiscretions, has seemingly been black-balled since then. During his time in baseball purgatory, Wally managed a couple of independent league teams but his hiring to lead the Cyclones is a significant step toward his quest to once again procure a big league managerial job.

First a little of my memories of Backman, then a little on the possible implications his hiring may have on the organization. Backman was an integral part of he Mets powerhouse teams of the mid 1980’s. He was a scrappy, intense gamer who platooned with Tim Teufel (ironically the Mets new pick to manage Double-A Binghamton) and provided a spark at the top of the powerful Mets lineup. One more than one occasion, I remember seeing Backman either get into it with another player of have it out with an umpire. The guy is not shy and certainly proved himself to be a winning ballplayer, something which I think we can all agree the Mets lack at this point and time.

Now a little on what Backman’s arrival could mean for the future structure of the Mets, and I talking about the very near future. It is clear that Jerry Manuel’s grip on the Mets manager position is very tenuous at best. If a newly revamped squad (the Mets will bring in some help I have no doubt) say gets off to a 20-28 start, there is no reason to believe Manuel wouldn’t be shown the door. I know Backman lacks major league managing experience, but his familiarity with the organization and the fans may be enough to rocket him to the top of the food chain sooner rather than later.

Putting Backman’s historical link and the shaky ground on which Jerry Manuel stands to the side, the reason I think he could and would be the perfect fit for the Mets is due to his aforementioned character. I believe, as do many others, that the Mets need a fiery, butt-kicker captaining their ship right now. There are core certain guys on this team, namely Jose Reyes, whose development could be benefited from having a guy like Wally Backman in charge. A little tough love from someone who I believe would be a stickler for fundamentals is just what the doctor ordered for this fundamentally unsound franchise.

I know this is a bit of a stretch to dream that Backman would be the Mets manger so soon, but it is not a stretch to think that the man at some point in the future will be skippering the Amazin’s, hopefully out of the dangerous tempest the Mets ship has sailed into. All of this may be moot though if they don’t go out and get some starting pitching. More to come on that soon.