Backman named PCL Manager of the Year

Mets Triple-A manager Wally Backman has been named the 2014 Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year, the league office announced Friday.

Backman, 54, has guided the Las Vegas 51s (80-61) to their second-straight Pacific Southern Division title, spending the entire season in first place. It is the first time in the franchise’s history that the club has recorded back-to-back 80-win seasons.


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Backman rejoined the Mets in 2010 to manager Single-A Brooklyn. He was among the four finalists interviewed by Sandy Alderson and his staff when looking to replace Jerry Manuel. However, the newly hired Alderson hired Terry Collins and reassigned Backman to Double-A Binghamton. The next season Backman moved to Triple-A, where he is 228-200 since taking over.


miniMCavatarMatthew Cerrone: This will only further embolden Mets fans and media who feel Backman’s time has come and that he should replace Collins as soon as next season. I don’t think it matters, though. The way I understand it from team insiders, it’s very unlikely that Wally is ever managing the Mets under Alderson. I do think it could work under Paul DePodesta, John Ricco or JP Ricciardi, but not Sandy.

In terms of what I think, I’m not 100 percent sold on this idea. Look, I love Wally’s attitude and his intensity, and nearly every player to ever appear on his roster thinks he’s great. He’s also smarter than people give him credit for. He has binders of notes and does tons of research. He knows his game, there is no question about that, and I’ve heard he left a strong impression on Alderson’s front office, including Collins, who advocated for moving him to Triple-A to work with guys on the cusp of the big leagues.

And that’s the thing, he’s so good at what he does in the minors. He seems to be great at whipping these kids in to shape, getting them focused on the final leg of their career. Or, in the case of Ike Davis and Travis d’Arnaud, taking guys back with open arms, re-focusing them and returning them to Queens. This isn’t easy. It’s a skill and he has it. This also suggests he knows these players and would transition well with them to the big-leagues. However, I’m reluctant to change this dynamic, especially since it’s quite clear Alderson is going to be running a constant shuttle from Vegas to Queens during the next few years… That’s not my big concern with Wally, though.


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The above is no reason to pass him over in the event Alderson wants to replace Collins. Frankly, I think he’d be great between the lines when the game is going on. In fact, I’m not sure anyone will be better. Instead, I worry how he’ll do in the time before and after the game, specifically in regards to the media. The reality is, like it or not, New York managers have to talk to reporters twice a day – and a lot more if you consider all the sidebar, off-record discussions that occur anywhere they can. My fear is that he’ll divide the clubhouse more than he’ll motivate and unite it. This might also be an issue if he’s bench coach, by the way.

I think his message will work at first, but could so easily turn south if the team doesn’t do well, and depending on the talent that could be beyond his control. I love our local reporters and media, they’re great at what they do; but that’s the problem, they’re great at what they do. I can totally see him saying things, on record, off record, building walls, isolating people, taking shots at people above and below and – even if those comments are justified and accurate – it will spin out on control in way that, unless he’s really, really good at damage control, will create a bigger circus than already exists at Citi Field.

That said, it would be fun to watch. Again, I’m not totally against the idea of Wally as manager, but I’m not 100 percent on board either. I have plenty of concerns.




217 comments
cgahler
cgahler

A new Mets manager is not going to turn this team around. Not unless he's a player manager who can hit for power and plan a mean left field. We should be much more concerned with next year's roster rather than who is filling out the line up card.

Randy Dela Cruz
Randy Dela Cruz

Very tired of watching the Mets lose season after season. Look, I'll always be a fan, but something needs to be done to bring excitement back to the club. If Wally can do it, then he should get the chance. What could it hurt? The team sucks as is.

vipregan
vipregan

Wife beater, tax fraud, and DUI... .yeah sign Wally up! *sarcasm*

Shawn R. Babcock
Shawn R. Babcock

The Mets haven't wanted a manager that holds players accountable and motivates them for a while. The last thing the Mets need is a player's manager...but that's all we're interested in.

Gotta figure it is because SA doesn't want anything but a hassel-free babysitter. Def hurts.

tigerinblu
tigerinblu

It's called organizational/office politics. Petty office politics keep people down and limit their opportunities for growth unless they go elsewhere. 


It happens in the Fortune 500's... and it most certainly is apparent in the Mets organization.

Michael Paulsen
Michael Paulsen

So lets get this straight, Wally has done a decent job, if not outstanding, and yet we'll stick with the loser Terry Collins because he's Sandy's yes man. How dysfunctional.

Shinowa Macca Abeyta
Shinowa Macca Abeyta

Sandy Alderson has done a great job of turning around the Mets organization and hopefully that lesson is learned and built on as the club moves forward. But its time to start turning this club into a winning organization and part of that is going to be smarts and toughness in the dugout. A manager who will be not only smart and bold, but firm and fair with the players. It is time for the next stage in the transformation of the organization to take place. Every one needs to start realizing that these loudmouth writers are just like movie critics in that they simply have an opinion just like the rest of us, only they get paid to put in print. They only have as much power that we as the general public give them and most of the time they're just full of crap. With someone like Wally Backman  as manager the Mets would have the toughness they need to start kicking some butt. And they could start with the New York sports writers and that other team across town, then go on from there. So what if something gets said that hurts some ones feelings, They can just get over it. 

Jack Fitzpatrick
Jack Fitzpatrick

The Mets need a real infusion of toughness.  I have seen David Wright time after time go up to the plate and nod hello to the pitcher.  Sal Maglie would have put him on his ass so fast his head would spin.  Collins is a total wimp, letting guys throw whipped cream in each others faces.  What is this when a guy hits a homer they run up and down the dugout like in a carwash?  This garbage would never have happened under Gil Hodges and don't give me that crap about "We live in a different time."  These guy have absolutely NO professionalism at all.  All Collins does is stand in the dugout and fiddle with his magic marker.  It has been this way for years.  Every time they replace the manager it is with the same kind of wimp and God forbid the pitchers should ever throw inside and move a guy off of the plate.  Wally Backman is a throwback to the 1986 Mets when they didn't back off to anyone.  They really need him.  But we will be stuck with Collins for another year and it will be the same old garbage.

metdrama
metdrama

Wasn't Collins in the same spot 4 years ago, where no on would hire him as a major league manager?  Well he got his shot w the Mets and he's flopped, so let's give Wally the same chance.

tango01
tango01

I think Wally has paid his dues. I would throw out the past history because Terry was arrested for a DUI and here he is managing this team. Wally has been a gold soldier, kept his mouth shut, he has managed a team in Vegas, the city of sin and I have not heard of one report of any of his guys getting in trouble or Wally himself. Next year is crucial for this organization and for us fans. We have 6 consecutive losing seasons and the moral and distance between Met fans and the met organization is very distant.

Randy Wilcox
Randy Wilcox

And yet how many times was Billy Martin hired as a major league manager?

hankincolo
hankincolo

Perception is reality and GMs like Yes men for managers these days. I suspect his reputation from years ago is getting in the way of other teams considering him. Bad for them, good for us, Sandy, you've done a nice job bringing in young talent through trades. Now, please retire, set the wheels in motion to free Wally from Vegas and bring him to Queens!

hankincolo
hankincolo

Thank you Matt for stating your honest opinion about Wally, after Sandy leaves and Wally has his first ST as mgr of the Mets, you might want to hide behind the real baseball writers from the Daily News, the Times, and Newsday among others.

knights80
knights80

And a lot of the things you said a bout Wally is exactly why he needs to be at the major league level. He'll say it the way it is instead of the sugar coating we've heard these past 6 years. Seems to me we had another manager that once told it like it was and he won the last W/S for us. Its time we got someone that knows what he's doing. Have you really heard Terry give a news conference lately? He's terrible. I cant stand it you're beginning to sound like a mouth piece for the front office.

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

well when you have the PERFECT manager as the Mets do in Collins why would you ever possibly think of making a change? 

YES my eyes are rolling :-/


I like Alderson for the most part but I TOTALLY disagree with him as far as his feelings go about managers. I really think Backman could get a few more wins out of this team than Collins has. I just don't think you'd see guys jogging into 2nd base on a double play ball like you saw Flores do yesterday. 

William John Dwyer
William John Dwyer

Lying will do that to you...I have always felt when the Mets decide to spend again, will be the year Backman gets promoted.

Metsfan62
Metsfan62

As long as Sandy is here it wont happen . I hate Sandy as much as Collins. Sandy what are you afraid of success that Wally may bring . He earned his shot.

heatcoach
heatcoach

I believe the time has come for the Mets to part ways with Collins and I have been won over to the Backman side.  This team has lacked spark and attitude since this regime took over.  The former 86er would bring life back to a moribund franchise and ignite enthusiasm in the fan base.  Wally is obviously a better manager and has a great understanding and better knowledge of the players who have passed through Vegas than Collins does.  He is also willing to take more chances and better use the talent given him.  Collins is a terrible in game manager, cannot properly handle a pitching staff, and has never won anything.  Backman has won at every level he's played, coached, and managed.  There is no evidence that he will divide a clubhouse and that he will unite it.  His past off-the-field problems appear to be hanging over him like Damocles sword and, while they shouldn't be ignored, will be a constant reminder to him to stay on the straight and narrow.  Five years of the vanilla Mr. Collins is enough and it's time to give Backman a chance. He's paid the price and it's time to reward him for his penance.

Chris Biehl
Chris Biehl

Don't see the other 29 teams in MLB lining up to hire Wally

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

Sorry but no thank you to Wally. Maybe when Collins was first hired but not now. Now this team needs a manager with experience a winning manager. Wally has neither yes he has won in the minors.

Completely different story in the majors. If Wally was the coach everyone believed him to be he would have had atleast 1 job offer in the last 3 years. And he has gotten nothing.

Shawn M. Milburn
Shawn M. Milburn

Can Wally magically fix David Wright's shoulder so he can hit again?

luckylou
luckylou

Wally is the right choice. Our beloved Keith Hernandez had his issues when he was younger, and so has Wally. Wally has likely learned from his past miscues. This team, this organization is in need of a leader. People has issues with others leaders throughout history, whether small or large situations in history. People thought General Van Patten went about things the "wrong way", but yet he was a winner..... A leader. The Mets need a leader now, one that guides this organization from out under the dark times. Bobby V. was trouble at times but he led them to a World series. Wally is a proven winner at the minor league level, as Davey Johnson was. Johnson knew his young players and so does Wally. Wally should be next in line. Anything other than that, is an error made by this organization.

gangsta
gangsta

It's time for the Wilpons to listen to their fan base and inform their employee Sandy to hire Wally as manager. Go for the gusto

semperfi
semperfi

Mets have won 2 WS in 52 year history and Wally played on one of them, he is a champion and now has become one of the best Minor League Mgrs in the game, all Met fans know of Wally's past and all would still love to see him as Mgr of this club, not only does he win with the talent he coaches, he exceeds all expectations everywhere he goes, what would we rather have as Mgr, someone that never meets expectations or someone that always exceeds them.

George Brezny
George Brezny

If they use Cashen/Johnson example.. Wally is the obvious choice. Knows most of these kids inside and out... Collins is a good teacher... Wally is a winner/motivator/leader - just like Johnson was .... Cashen was and Johnson didn't always get along but they were good for each other, as different personalities with difference strengths and weaknesses are for a team.. If this were a corporation management would know that they have the product... (missing a few pieces) but leadership would know the person that built the product doesn't necessarily know how to sell the product... (similar to pre Johnson days)... The time is now to make change... Period.. Don't hear of any other baseball guys deserving a manager spot across the league that gurus are lauding about. So, give Wally a shot... That would sell tickets, at the least for next year.

Coupon Hater
Coupon Hater

And that means what? They weren't lining up to sign Cruz either...................How'd that work out for them / us?

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

GREAT point. Lets just hire whoever the other teams hire! Wait, after they've hired them then they won't be available will they? Forget it, let just keep Collins.


Who was lining up to hire Collins by the way? Who lined up to hire ANYONE before they got their first job? It's SUCH a stupid point to say "lets not make a bold move because no one else did." The guy has won several minor league manager of the year awards. He was a winner as a player and he's had success at EVERY level. He knows the players and he's good at getting the most out of his teams. He's helped players that were sent down...  


mrmet4mvp
mrmet4mvp

Don't see them trying to lure away Terry Collins either...

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

@Bo Beck -

"If Wally was the coach everyone believed him to be he would have had atleast 1 job offer in the last 3 years."

what are you basing this on? So he's NOT a good manager? Is that your point? The award he just won would seem to indicate otherwise


Pat Brady
Pat Brady

@Bo Beck - Did Davey Johnson have major league experience when he took over the Mets? What's the difference? Is the game different in the big leagues? Are they playing 7 innings or with aluminum bats in the minors? Wally DID play in the big leagues so I think he's pretty familiar with the game. 

Metsfan62
Metsfan62

@Bo Beck  What changed your mind about Wally ? You said you would when they first hired Terry but not now ? All Wally has done in the minors is win and most if not all are young players have played for him . They all rave about how good he is and love playing for him . I don't want anymore of Sandy's buddy's from the old Oakland days. We need a kick ass manager and I believe Wally would be perfect for this team ! Lets go Wally !! 

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

How many kids did that Mets team win with. Not many, what 4-5 at best.

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

And yes won in the Minors with teams built with AAAA players. He's always been handed experienced players who were above the average age for the level they were playing at.

The best coach for this team again is someone who has experience has won in the majors and has not been part of this organization.

The fresh set of eyes is the most important thing. No favorites the best players will play.

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

If your looking to take a step forward from the mess we have been watching over the last 4 years you have to do it with an experienced coach.

When TC was first hired you knew they were going to slash payroll they weren't interested in winning. Wally could have very easily could've gains his experience through that.

Now with 4 losing seasons already it's not a good move to have someone learning on the job when this team could very well be in a playoff push next year. It makes no sense what so ever to hire Backman as your manager right now. You'll only be taking a step forward to take 2 steps back.

Richard Davis
Richard Davis

@Bo Beck  It'd be nice if you did some research before you make a statement like you just did.  The team was full of young kids with only a few veterans who had come from other teams (Hernandez, Carter, Knight, Ojeda, Teufel, Foster).  Johnson had spent years in the minors cultivating the team he was eventually handed the reigns to.  Clearly, Collins is not the answer, yet you offer no alternatives.  Scioscia, Hurdle, Bochy, Girardi, Gonzalez, Showalter, Francona or Maddon are names I assume you are referring to with proven records; the sticking point is that they are already hired and not likely to be going anywhere anytime soon.  Which would bring us back to hiring a manager without a proven ML winning pedigree.  Why go outside the organization for an iffy choice when you have Wally in organization and already familiar with all the young players on the major league roster?

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

@Bo Beck - Not at ALL unusual to see a starting lineup of

Dykstra

Backman

Hernandez

Carter

Strawberry

Johnson

Mitchell

Santana

Gooden


Carter and Hernandez were both very early 30's, Santana was very late 20's. EVERYONE else was either mid 20's or early 20's. so I have NO clue what you're talking about. 

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

@Bo Beck Gooden, Darling, Fernandez, Backman, Dykstra, Strawberry, Mitchell, Aguleria, Elster, Howard Johnson was still young, McDowell, Gibbons, Lyons


It was a very young team. THey brought in Carter and Hernandez for veteran leadership


Coupon Hater
Coupon Hater

@Bo Beck That's absurd and Sandy has depleted his pitching and hitting all year. Terry loses anything and they make excuses. Wally loses everything and you knock his skills? Weird Sandy just Weird

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

@Bo Beck - So the AAA Mets were just BETTER than the other teams? That's your point? 


Not so sure they're older though either. THe Mets under Minaya operated that way but not so under Alderson. They had Abreu but other than that not a lot of old retreads  He just got a lot out of his players. He's a good coach and a good manager. His players actually LIKE playing for him. I saw a bunch of Vegas games over the past 2 years too and the roster is not old by any means


Coupon Hater
Coupon Hater

@Bo Beck What's crazy is not just that Wally has won but he did it with most of THESE guys. Terry is terrible and the Mets wont spend money on a manager just they wont on players. I just pray they don't give it to Teuful! He can't even coach 3rd base

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

@Bo Beck
"If your looking to take a step forward from the mess we have been watching over the last 4 years you have to do it with an experienced coach."


Like the 84 Mets did with Davey Johnson you mean? 


Metsfan62
Metsfan62

@Bo Beck  He's a former World  Champion !  A former MLB player I think he's got more then enough experience . And he knows the players. But don't worry with Sandy here it wont happen he wants a yes man !

Pat Brady
Pat Brady

@metdrama @Pat Brady I know that lineup well. Tuefel played when Mookie played but that made the lineup older. Some putz said there was only 4-5 young guys on the whole team.