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Backman Not Joining Nationals

By Mike Silva ~ October 11th, 2011. Filed under: New York Mets.

I was just informed that the report about Wally Backman possibly joining the #Nats as a Major League coach is not true. #MLB #MetsTue Oct 11 18:24:55 via web

Bill Ladson, Nationals beat reporter for MLB.com reports that Wally Backman will not be joining Davey Johnson’s staff. I would suspect this means that Backman will stay in the organization and probably manage Triple-A Buffalo.

As I said earlier, Backman has always maintained he would prefer to manage in the minors over coaching on someone else’s staff in the big leagues.

Original Post: Mets May Rue Backman Decision

When Davey Johnson was hired as the manager of the Washington Nationals, there were reports he would bring on a bench coach to groom as his successor. I speculated that Wally Backman, then managing the Mets Double-A farm team in Binghamton, might be 68-year old Johnson’s choice. A report from Mike Puma in the NY Post earlier today indicates that might indeed be the case.

When the Mets overhauled their coaching staff they elected to give Tim Teufel the third base coaching job instead of Backman. They also appear ready to bring in an outsider to take over the vacant bench coach job that Ken Oberkfell had this past season. That would have been the perfect spot for Backman if indeed he was considered a successor to Terry Collins down the road. Remember, Collins is 62 years old so we are not talking about someone who will be running this club for a decade. That man could have been Backman.

I believe Backman will eventually prove to be one of the better managers in baseball. I think you will see players have their best years under his tutelage. His team will routinely exceed expectations as the sum will be greater than the whole of their parts. The Mets may rue the day they didn’t give him the manager’s job, or worse, didn’t give him the ability to transition into the position as Collins’ bench coach.

Backman in the past has preferred to manage in the minor leagues instead of taking a big league coaching job since he believes his greatest value lies in running a ball club. It’s his passion and long term goal to run a big league team, something that he was awarded for four days back in 2004. Knowing that, I have to imagine he has been told he is next in line for the job, or I would suspect he would just stay with the Mets and take Teufel’s position in Triple-A Buffalo.

The Nationals are a great fit for Backman. He gets to work under his former manager, someone who is respected throughout the game. This was something the Braves did with Fredi Gonzalez as he served as a bench coach under Bobby Cox. I think Backman has proven his worth at the minor league level as he is responsible for the development of numerous players including Dan UgglaCarlos Quentin, and Aaron Rowand, won 2 minor league championships, and a MILB manager of the year award. During his two years in the Mets system he took Brooklyn to the NY-Penn League championship series and squeezed 65 wins out of a terrible Binghamton team. His B-Mets finished strong with a 20-7 record in August and a 35-21 mark after July 6th.

As good a job as Terry Collins has done with the team I still wonder if Backman was the better choice. He is younger, has Mets connections, and could have been a long-term replacement.

Not only will the Mets see Backman thrive, but it will be in their own division where he can hurt them as many as 19 times a year. Washington has historically been first in war, first in peace, and last in baseball. Backman may be part of changing that in the near future.

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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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6 Responses to Backman Not Joining Nationals

  1. 86mets

    You forget to mention that Backman is also impatient and seems to forget that no other ML team would give him a shot at even minor league managing except for the Mets. You forgot to mention the ego that was clearly, clearly evident when he was passed over for Collins. And what was his record at AA this year? 66-76. Yeah, he gets the most out of his players all right. That players shuttled in and out of Binghamton all year is hardly an excuse. Maybe he would’ve been a better choice than Collins. But so what if he leaves? No one should really care one way or the other. No big loss.

  2. JK

    Mike, keep in mind who owns the Mets, two of the biggest idiots in mlb. These two clowns got on their knees and thanked god that Art Howe was delivered to them, they interviewed no one else before or after. I wonder if Wilpon/ Katz had Whitey Herzog at the age of 45 in front of them would they choose Howe over Whitey? I think they would.
    I like Backman and would like to see him in the majors but the Wilpons are too conservative, Wally will have to prove more to them than others in the organisation would have to.

  3. Chuck Johnson

    Wally Backman lied during his interview with the Dbacks.

    The line of communication within baseball is very short and very quick.

    Look what happened to that guy in Toronto.

    Jim Riggleman will be the Mets’ bench coach in 2012.

    Speculating on anyone else is just that.

  4. LongTimeFan

    Make Backman the bench coach? Really? That’s the worst possible role for Backman and the Mets. Putting a newbie at that position at the major league level. especially someone whose never managed above AA, helps no one. The Mets need that important job filled by someone experienced at the major league level who knows the league, especially the division, and has been either a coach or manager at the major league level for some time. This person needs to fill the void left by Hale, who, as third base coach was the point man about the opposition.

  5. Stu B

    @Chuck: Which guy in Toronto?

  6. Will in Central NJ

    Stu, I think Chuck’s referring to former Blue Jays manager Tim Johnson, who falsely claimed to have served combat duty in Vietnam.

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