Legends On Deck

Wally Backman: “I Did Whatever I Was Told.”

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Wally Backman pats 51’s T.J. Rivera on the back during the 2016 Triple-A All Star Game. Photo by Gabe Rodriguez/LOD

Updated: September 14th – 8:00 am

On Tuesday Wally Backman spoke with WFAN regarding the reasons for his departure from the Mets.

“You want to be respected for what you do and I just felt for my time that I worked there the respect wasn’t there. The things that went on this year really turned my head it was time to move on.”

Backman was also upset regarding rumors that he ignored orders from the front office regarding starting Michael Conforto against lefties prior to his recent promotion to the big club.

“Conforto, I had for 33 games and he started 31, one he didn’t start was the game he got sent down.” Backman continued, “He went 21-for-41 against left-handed pitching, hit .488 with three home runs. Whoever put that out there, they lied and that’s the part that [ticks] me off.”

The other rumored issue was not putting Brandon Nimmo in the lead-off spot, “In 90-plus games, he hit first or second 81 times. I did whatever I was told. Whoever said it, to say something like that for people to see and hear is just wrong,” explained Backman.

Backman was sure a staple in the minor leagues and the successes of many on the big club are a direct result of time under his supervision.

“I don’t want to take up and be a sideshow while they’re in a playoff race, because every one of those guys in the big leagues has come through me.”

But Backman is correct he isn’t the sideshow, he is just putting out there the obvious when it comes to the Mets front office on how one may be treated if not in their plans for the major league club, but moving on is his only option to ever getting noticed for a big league job.

“The reason I think I had to leave is at this time they’ve shown no future for me at the major league level,” Backman said. “With that being said, I’ve done my work to — I believe — deserve an opportunity and it wasn’t gonna happen in New York.”

You can also read the Official Statement from Wally Backman by clicking here.

Original Post: September 13th

Some media outlets reported on Monday evening that the New York Mets fired their Triple-A manager Wally Backman for failing to march to the orders from the front office.

According to the NY Post, the Mets front office expected Backman to use Brandon Nimmo in the lead-off spot in Vegas and Michael Conforto against left handed pitching but he refused, forcing them to let him go.

But as per Mets GM Sandy Alderson, the Mets 1986 World Series Champion second baseman decided it was time to move on to pursue a managerial position within major league baseball.

“I thought he did a fine job for us. We had many players come through Las Vegas and graduate to the major league level and establish themselves in New York. He was part of that development process. In addition, other than this year, the teams were very competitive and successful on a won-loss basis. He did a good job for us,” Alderson shared with the Media.

Backman managed in the Mets system for seven years first starting in the NY-Penn League in 2010 with the Brooklyn Cyclones, then in 2011 in Double-A with the B-Mets, and five straight seasons from 2012-2016 with the organizations Triple-A affiliates.

In his time in the Mets farm system, Backman has been a big influence to many of the ball players that have played for him.

I received a few messages from current and former Backman ball players:

“He is a good players manager and wants us all to do the best.” ~ Chasen Bradford, RP (played for Backman from 2014-2016)

“I loved playing for Wally, he is a guy who pushes you to be great. All he asked for was to go out every day and compete and be the best you can be.” ~ Travis Taijeron (played for Backman from 2015 – 2016)

“I enjoyed playing for him, he is such a great manager. He’s a players coach and he made me a better ball player. He genuinely cares for his club and puts them in a position to succeed.” ~ Kyle Johnson, OF (played for Backman from 2015-2016)

“One of the best managers I have ever played for.” ~ Cory Vaughn, OF (played for Backman from 2014-2015)

“I liked him, I thought he was the best players coach I played for. He put his players first and their best interests and as a player that is all you can ask for out of your manager.” ~ Allan Dykstra, 1B (played for Backman in 2011 and 2014)

Comments by David C. :

It is obvious the Mets never thought highly of Backman as they chose Terry Collins over him in 2010, and over the years have chosen not to promote him to any coaching jobs on the big club, but everyone of his players from pitchers to position players have all spoken very highly of him and when the big club has not been able to fix a slumping hitter, Backman has done a tremendous job getting the player right back on track. 

Recently Michael Conforto was demoted for slumping and when he arrived in Vegas he quickly revived his hitting and spent a good portion of the month on fire before the Mets recalled him. It can only be obvious that Backman had a great influence in helping Conforto to get back to what he does best.

I will stick to what I believe, the Mets need a manager like Backman on the big club that can push the right buttons and would not bash his players in the media nor throw them under the bus. With the Mets promoting many of Backman’s former ball players, it would have made better sense to give him his due and if not the skipper’s job, then at least be a coach so his influence could translate to success on the big club. But now he moves on with the hopes that his success over the years finally lands him a coveted major league managers job.

I wish him all the best and look forward to watching him finally lead a major league squad to success. At the end of the day, Backman’s departure is a huge loss for the Mets and their organization.

David Conde
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