Las Vegas 51s

Wally Backman back as manager of 51s, Frank Viola named pitching coach

Wally Backman will return to Las Vegas as manager (Logan).

“I’m excited to return to Las Vegas for my second season,” Backman said in a statement. “I’m also excited about the fact that we will have a solid team to start the season and our pitching has the potential to be better than last season (2013). Our players did a good job getting a grip on it quickly in regards to adjusting to the PCL and knowing what the main goal is while playing in Las Vegas.”

Frank Viola will become the pitching coach for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s (Dewey). The previous pitching coach, Randy St. Claire, was reported to not be returning to Las Vegas in December after just one season.

Viola spent the 2011 season with the short season Single-A Brooklyn Cyclones and took over as pitching coach for the Single-A Savannah Sand Gnats the next year.


For the full release from the Mets, visit SNY’s Mets Minor League Blog.




40 comments
ski1958
ski1958

frank, i wish u a speedy recovery  .My family's prayers are with u 

Kenneth Meltsner
Kenneth Meltsner

Wally could go 120-10 and we'd still be watching Terry Collins burn-out what few hot-hands he has (I'm lookin' at YOU, John Buck). Time for wholesale changes. Anyone else excited about the prospect of an 80-82 season? i thought not. I have no desire to hear another year's litany of 'These guys play hard for Terry' and 'Every spot in the lineup must be earned' by the SNY broadcast team.

Richard Daly
Richard Daly

Frank is a great person and down to earth with a lot of pitching knowledge. I will miss him when the Savannah comes to town Good luck! In Vegas you will do well

maxster
maxster

Wally, Frank, Wish you were in N Y so we don't have to see 6 different lineups a week. We need to light a Fire under all those players. The whole offensive team was miserable last year NO ONE HIT from the kids to the veterans, and Collins is a lousey in game Manager. Hope they realize sooner than latter.

1harris1
1harris1

I thought Viola hated Backman.  There's definitely some history between those two from their playing days.

xgamblorx
xgamblorx

Viola is by all reports one of the best pitching instructors in the Mets system so I'm definitely curious to see what he'll do now that he's no longer in a favorable pitching environment like Brooklyn or Savannah.

Wayno
Wayno

The 51s would beat the Mets in a 7 game series!! Better coach, better pitching coach, better pitching, same lineup lol

md92468
md92468

This is really good news for Syndergaard, Montero, Mazzoni, Leathersich, et al...not so good for Matz (hope the kid can build on his momentum from last year and land in AA by year's end). I expect Viola will be in Queens before too long...

Hank259
Hank259

I actually expect the 51s to be the best team (pound for pound) in the organization in 2014. Adding Viola and keeping Backman, now might also gift them the best staff in the organization...especially if they can find a spot for Pedro Lopez...then again, Lopez is doing just fine in Binghamton. 

bubbadubbs
bubbadubbs

I can only hope that both backman and violas next stop is in queens holing up a world series trophy

Frank D
Frank D

I'm just glad that they have a steady presence in their minors.  It's tough if you keep changing coaches and the young players hear 800 different philosophies before they hit the majors.  Backman might not translate well to the majors, but he's the perfect guy for young players to understand that the MLB is a business and there is a certain level of professionalism that goes hand in hand.  

To be clear, when I speak of professionalism, I am speaking about hustle and leaving it all on the field.  I am well aware the Backman curses more than a drunk sailor.  

tierlifer
tierlifer

The unsung coach in the system that never gets any accolades is B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez.  I'm more glad he's back in Binghamton than Wally is at AAA.  

Derpy
Derpy

Frank Viola is probably the best asset in the minor league system right now.  Good for him on getting the promotion.  I hope he is the major league pitching coach at some point.  It seems he is moving up along side all these arms in the minors, and he will come along with them when they all move to the majors together.  This will be a great pitching staff headed by a great pitching coach.

chasesimms
chasesimms

Great.  Now move them both up to NYC and say goodbye to Collins and Warthen.  Then we're getting somewhere. 

hankincolo
hankincolo

Happy to hear it. More intrigued to see what Viola does with his pitching staff in the thin air. Warthan can't last forever.  

mets2891
mets2891

Good, hope Terry keeps the seat warm.

Macacawitz
Macacawitz

Vegas is a sports hell hole.  It's a three shift town where time doesn't matter.  It's hard to get people to come to games because at any given time at least 1/3 of the population is working.  The local professional hockey team has learned to do some odds things to compensate for this, like schedule several games during the year at 1 AM to accommodate fans coming off the 4 to midnight shift.  It seems like a perfect environment to prepare to play for the Mets, an organization that prides itself on existing in bizarro land. 

Anthony Fiore
Anthony Fiore

As long as he doesn't screw up Snydergaard, Montero, Leathersich, Chris Schwinden (haha, just making sure you are paying attention) etc...I am all for Sweet Music. Was St. Claire fired or did he leave?  I notice he is now the pitching coach at double-A New Hampshire (Blue Jays)

drmetfan
drmetfan

Nice! I like the move. This duo could potentially be the next manager and pitching coach of the Mets.

ApM
ApM

He's proven to be awesome with the young guys. It's just a matter of whether he's more valuable with a-ballers or guys on the cusp of the big leagues.

dukewillie
dukewillie

@md92468 If Viola does well in Vegas, then I'll second your notion. I'm also hoping Matz can stay healthy and continue to improve. We can use a 2nd lefty starter in our rotation.

Macacawitz
Macacawitz

@Frank D If you can't handle profanity, you don't belong in professional sports.  In baseball, it's an art form.

Jim Alderson
Jim Alderson

Was absolutely terrible in final series against Trenton.  Left Walters out to rot long after it was clear to everyone Trenton had his number.  Failed to pinch-hit for Logan Forsythe in critical situation with better hitters on bench.  Threw the same lineup out in each game of the series and made no in-game moves.   This was the best squad Bingo ever had and he shoiuld have brought home a trophy. 

Jim Alderson
Jim Alderson

You can watch the games, or if you cant' watch the games, you can look at win-loss record, you can read testimonials like Cody Ross, saying he would run through a brick wall for Wally Backman.  You can look at indiviual performances across levels, like what Gorski and Edgin did under Viola versus other coaches.  Ummmmm, what else?  Stalking and wiretaps?

Charles Gruber Jr.
Charles Gruber Jr.

@Travis Walls well, let's see... with Viola as the Pitching Coach in Savannah they won the league, and as a staff they had the 2nd lowest ERA, and issued 100 fewer walks than the next team. 


What more do you want ?

Jim Alderson
Jim Alderson

Warthen looks like Dr. Nefario from Despicable Me.

rico
rico

@Macacawitz Vegas is not a sports hell hole, it's just a hell hole in general.

hankincolo
hankincolo

@Macacawitz Playing hockey at 1 in the morning? Reminds me of my ole' old man hockey league. 

Tarheel11
Tarheel11

@Anthony Fiore He left on his won. St Claire is a very mild mannered guy, Backman probably rubbed him the wrong way

hankypanky
hankypanky

@Macacawitz@Frank D  Profanity is the least of Backman's problems.  There's a reason why he and Valdespin were perfect together. 

                                         Major league umps would have Wally for breakfast.

tierlifer
tierlifer

@Jim Alderson Fair point and hard to argue. Overall as a body as a whole I thought he was rock solid but definitely see your point.  I'm a B-Mets season ticket holder and was just as disappointed as you but the players didn't exact;y step up either, especially Dykstra who was a no show in the EL playoffs.  

ApM
ApM

@Travis Walls @ApM I guess you're right, "proven" probably isn't the best word choice there. But all accounts (the front office, the players, Toby Hyde) all speak well of him, and when there is a consensus opinion like that i think it's acceptable to say it's likely accurate.

pundit18
pundit18

@Travis Walls @ApM He has been pitching coach at Savannah for a couple of years now, and all the pitcher who have passed through there rave about him.