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Why Wally Backman Could Work With Sandy Alderson



By Mike Silva ~ October 27th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

The Mets finally made the right decision last night and hired Sandy Alderson as their General Manager.

NYBD’s Frank Russo reached out to An NL executive, who had this to say when the site reached out and asked him his thoughts on a potential Alderson/Mets union

Alderson is a well qualified, tough, nonsense person. I find it hard to believe the Wilpon’s could deal with such a person unless he has their complete agreement of autonomy.

So does this mean the era of collegial management in the Mets organization is over? Many believe the first test is who Alderson hires as manager. So where does that leave Wally Backman?


will be shocked if alderson hires wally back as manager. will show right away he isnt running things, and i dont see him doing that.less than a minute ago via web

I understand where Heyman is coming from, but why not at least allow Backman to interview? I believe the Mets would be making a mistake of epic proportions if they let Backman go. Personally, it would be the equivalent of not hiring Davey Johnson back in 1984. 

I have long talked about Backman’s ability to motivate, manage a bullpen, and instill an aggressive winning style to his ballclub as reasons why he would be a great fit for the Mets. Many in the media express concerns about whether he could work for Sandy Alderson, someone who believes the field manager is an extension of the direction from the front office. Not only do I believe Backman could work under Alderson, but he may be exactly what they are looking for. Take this quote from an interview I conducted with Wally back in winter of 2008:

“I am an organizational guy. I have always been an organizational guy. You have rules, I’ll have rules in the clubhouse, but ultimately we follow the organizations rules, and as long as you don’t steer away from those things there should be no problems. I think communication, again, is huge.

In the past you have heard about issues with front office types in the clubhouse. If you remember Willie Randolph wasn’t happy with the presence of Tony Bernazard. Bobby Valentine sometimes objected to Steve Phillips hanging around the locker room. This is what Backman had to say about the GM role:

Is the general manager supposed to come down in the clubhouse? Yeah, he hired me (laughs), so he should be able to come into the clubhouse. That was one of the questions that was asked of me in Arizona. Joe Garagiola Jr. asked me if it would bother me if he was in the clubhouse and I said absolutely not. You’re the man that’s going to hire me, you’re the man that is going to make decisions on player moves and transactions. I just want to be a part of it.

So doesn’t that sound exactly like the type of person that fits this Alderson quote?

“Managers are very controlling. You look at the managers today and the ones that are ‘my way or the highway’ are very few. It’s a remnant of another generation. If an organization is worth its salt – why would you turn that company over to a middle manager? So the attitude (in Oakland) was, ‘We have a philosophy and we’re going to find a manager who is going to implement that philosophy. We’re not looking for someone to tell us how to run the team, or upon which theory it should be predicated. We already have that. We want someone who is going to implement it for us.’ That’s a very different approach.”

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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8 Responses to Why Wally Backman Could Work With Sandy Alderson

  1. Joey

    “ability to motivate, manage a bullpen, and instill an aggressive winning style”

    Is this what you think led to Davey Johnson’s success? Jesus, I can’t believe you’re even employed.

  2. Mike Silva

    I didn’t say that in description of Davey, but rather why I think they should hire Wally. Besides, Davey did do a nice job managing the personalities in that clubhouse, and I thought he was ahead of his time in bullpen mgt and matchups. (see Kevin Mitchell playing around the diamond).

    You have to read the piece to see where my point was going – you are speaking from emotion.

  3. USMF

    I would think to think Alderson would hire the best person for the job, not the person he thought would prove that “he’s in charge”.

    While I like the idea of Backman managing the Mets, I really like the idea of him working with young players in there early “development years”. If I was GM, I’d try to keep Wally in the the system working on instilling his “baseball ethic” for a couple of years while promoting him to the Binghamton before bringing him up to the Mets.

  4. happyjack

    Maybe I have been watching the Mets too much, but I was actually looking for Jesus’s comment. Didn’t we already have the middle manager concept for the last 9 years? Isn’t that exactly why Art Howe, Wille Randolph and Jerry Manuel failed? I think fans would like a more intense field general and I would be shocked if Aldersen’s first move would be to give us another Art Howe. So who else was on the short list? Seems that hiring Wally allows a new GM to concentrate on those other organizational problems we suddenly heard about when Omar left.

  5. happyjack

    Wasn’t Heyman also positive Melvin was replacing Manuel in July?

  6. Moses57

    I agree with you, Wally is a great Fit.

  7. kranepool society

    Joey, here’s a dime go buy a clue or better yet get a library card and read some of the dozen books written about the 1986 Mets and you’ll educate yourself on the fact that Johnson did indeed have the traits that Mike wrote about

  8. this guy will suck

    we want a puppet for a manager ? you hire a manager to lead your team someone who knows more than you about it this country is so pussified it makes me sick

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