Former Mets player and minor league manager Wally Backman is not a happy camper when it comes to the Mets.
[Update January 12, 2017]: Mets GM Sandy Alderson was asked Thursday about Backman’s comments, and refuted his claims saying, “I guess I will say this: Wally did a good job for us at Las Vegas. Nobody has called about Wally.”
[Original article follows]
At the end of the 2016 season, Backman stepped down from his job as the manager of the Las Vegas 51s. He said he felt an opportunity to move up in the Mets organization just wasn’t there, and to be frank, he was probably right. A lot of us thought that would be the last we heard about Backman and the Mets, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Backman spoke with NorthJersey.com’s Bob Klapisch and expressed some frustration with how his departure has affected his ability to find a new job. He goes as far as to say he believes Sandy Alderson and the Mets have “blackballed” him.
According to the 57-year-old Backman, a friend of his in the commissioner’s office tipped him off that Alderson is working to prevent him from acquiring new work in MLB.
"“In the last phone call I had with Sandy [in September] he said, ‘I will do anything I can to help you.’ But he is not an honest man. People are telling me, ‘Sandy has it in for you. You’re being blackballed.”"
That’s a pretty serious allegation, and one that we may never know if it’s true or not in the end.
"“I’ve talked to several teams, and every one of them has said, ‘You’re overqualified.’ How can you be overqualified when you’re trying to win? No one is overqualified unless there’s something else going on.”"
Klapisch spoke to a non-Mets executive that has known Alderson for some time and denied Sandy doing something of the sort. “It’s not Sandy’s nature,” he said. However, Backman is still confused as to why he was even fired, and firmly believes someone in Mets ownership should have stood up for him.
“I’ve been betrayed” by the Wilpons, Backman added. He later pointed out that he doesn’t harbor ill will towards Fred, but thinks “Jeff didn’t stand up” for him.
In the end, Backman has somewhat moved on. He’s found a new job – he’s now managing the Monclova club in Mexico. And while he doesn’t speak more than a handful of words in Spanish, he’s confident he’ll be able to build some good from the ground up.
Best of luck, Wally. Maybe one day we’ll see you around the Majors again.