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Report: Byrnes and Alderson have Backman on short list for next Mets manager

Oct 22, 2010, 6:35 PM EDT

Wally Backman

The Mets’ GM search is marching towards its conclusion, as former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes and former Athletics GM and Padres CEO Sandy Alderson appear to be the finalists for the position.

It’s all speculation until the team names a general manager, but Ken Rosenthal of has an interesting piece of information regarding who may be on the short list to be the club’s next manager.

Both Alderson and Byrnes presented lists of four or five managerial candidates in their initial interviews. Each of their lists included Mets Class A manager Wally Backman, sources said.

I can see how some people may have a problem with this. And I’m not even talking about his history with domestic violence. I’m talking about the perception battle. By now, we know that the Mets like Backman. He appears to be in good standing with the organization after leading the Brooklyn Cyclones to a division title. It’s very possible that Byrnes and Alderson value him too, but should Backman end up getting hired, the public perception will be that ownership led the new GM to their first significant decision. That’s probably not a good idea.

The full-autonomy tag is silly anyway, as I realize that ownership is in on almost every significant decision, but the Mets have been losing this perception battle for years now. Part of this offseason facelift must be about attempting to change that perception, perhaps more than the actual players on the field.

  1. Mark Healey - Oct 22, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    You’re throwing around the term “domestic violence” like a member of the AZ media; Backman’s first wife accused him of battery twice, and a judge threw it out twice and accused her w/ perjury and contempt of court. The incident that made it into the papers was a domestic harrasment charge, and did not involve his wife. It was an isolated incident and it happened nearly a decade ago. “A history of domestic violence” is what one would apply to someone who actually struck one’s one spouse, child, or other family relation.

    Also, let’s not forget that the GM candidates PROVIDED the name of Backman on their list. If Backman gets the job, there’s no doubt that it’s something Jeff would like, but he’s probably not Fred’s first choice.

    Finally, if Mets ownership does insist on Backman, it’d be the first smart hire they’ve made since Bobby Valentine in 1997.

    • D.J. Short - Oct 22, 2010 at 7:55 PM

      Okay, I’ll bite. Why would it be smart?

  2. rabiague1986 - Oct 22, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    The New York Mets franchise are at a critical point in their history.The Mets are a morass and a laughing stock up there with the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks for major market futility, They have to start making bold moves that top franchises make to achieve consistent contention for world series championships.

    If Josh Byrnes is hired as GM while not a terrible hire shows that the Wilpons lack the killer instinct to make their franchise better. Alderson is the man to hire as he was the first to implement many of the ideas we see young GM’s use today. Let him hire young hungry scouts, executives to fill out the front office.

    If I was GM I would consider Wally Backman, Chip Hale, Ken Oberkfell, Tim Teufel, Ryne Sandberg, Clint Hurdle, and for some real wild cards Butch Hobson and Wayne Krenchicki. But I’m not going to be the GM. Sandy Alderson must make the decision and pick his guy it must be his show. If the Mets don’t start winning soon the Wilpons should be forced to sell the franchise and perhaps buy their real favorite team the Dodgers.

  3. Mark Healey - Oct 22, 2010 at 9:12 PM

    I have no problem if Alderson picks someone other than Backman, in fact I have written several times that new GM should pick the manager. But I think a Backman hire is really a no-brainer:

    A fan favorite, who, if he’s successful, will make new GM look like a genius. If he stinks or implodes, new GM has a “gimme” after his first hire, then really gets to pick his guy…

    I think he will be successful. I have spoken to many of his former players and coaches to think otherwise. He’s a very smart guy, who uses his rep as a “fiery” guy to his advantage. Ask yourself this question; for all of his fire, did you ever see Backman lose his cool on a baseball field as a player? No. For all of the fights the 1986 Mets got into, he was never the instigator. He wasn’t at Cooter’s.

  4. rabiague1986 - Oct 22, 2010 at 9:21 PM

    Again I don’t think Backman would be bad as a matter of fact I would applaud it. The Mets should of hired him or Cito Gaston in 2005.

    It is hard for me to trust any thing the Wilpons do or say. They lack killer instinct when it comes to total rebuilding or going for it. The Yankees would have never rebuilt if Steinbrenner wasn’t thrown out of baseball for 3 years, we may have never seen a Yankee dynasty and they could be the Los Angeles Clippers of baseball today. If you think admitting a total rebuilding project is such a bad thing due to ticket sales, where will they go if they continue to half ass a roster year after year? Just be honest with the fans it won’t be so bad, but they must do it right.

  5. The Dangerous Mabry - Oct 23, 2010 at 3:19 AM

    Ever since watching the video of Backman throwing a fit in his “epic ejection” (, I’ve questioned his level of professionalism. Whether or not the umpire may have been out of line in the circumstances, I really can’t see any reason for a manager to throw all of his team’s equipment out of the field in a hissy fit. Maybe he’s changed, but that sure seemed out of line to me.

    • thebaseballidiot - Oct 23, 2010 at 5:51 AM

      Ever heard of Lou Piniella, Earl Weaver, or Lou Durocher?

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