Bob Klapisch of The Record says he couldn’t help but wonder how Sandy Alderson really felt about Wally Backman winning the Pacific Coast League’s Manager of the Year award, considering the GM has shown no intention of giving Backman a chance in New York. It’s time to reconsider this de facto blackball, and see Backman as an asset who can help the Mets ascend toward respectability.
Klapisch says while Collins has been a good front office messenger for Alderson, he shouldn’t be faulted for his boss guessing wrong on Chris Young and Curtis Granderson, and David Wright’s mysterious collapse. But Collins has failed to meet minimum expectations of a .500 season, and for all the emphasis on patience in the batter’s box, the Mets drew the fewest walks in the National League in August and have the NL’s second-worst offense
A sixth straight losing season, four of them by Collins, and attendance that continues to dive in lockstep with the team, the decision may not even be Alderson’s and the Wilpons can impose their will as soon as this season concludes. Alderson has been and still remains a staunch supporter of Collins.
If that does happen, Klapisch says it would require Alderson to shed his prejudice against the very trait that makes Backman unique – that he’s an independent thinker with a strong personality.
Backman has done his penance since the fiasco in Arizona ten years ago. He has played by the rules, avoided controversy, poured himself into the job as a mentor, and has risen steadily through the organization, Klapisch argues.
“You can’t imagine how hard it is to keep a bunch of 20-something-year-old kids out of trouble in a place like Vegas, unless you have their total respect,” an industry source said.
“No one can say Backman doesn’t win over his players. To a man, they cite his enthusiasm and toughness, an infectious positive attitude that’s helped a number of young Mets on their way up.”
Eric Campbell told the Las Vegas Review-Journal earlier this year. “He’s a fiery guy and he has your back. That’s really all you can ask for as a player. You want to play hard for him because you know that’s how he played and that’s what he appreciates,”
Something has to give, Klapisch concludes. Alderson’s team is mired in a losing culture and desperately need is a blast of accountability. They’ve become far too comfortable losing year after year. Backman could change that ethos. He deserves to at least try.