In an exclusive interview with Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record, Wally Backman had some explosive things to say about his parting of ways with the New York Mets including that he’s been blackballed by GM Sandy Alderson and betrayed by owner Jeff Wilpon.
“There’s been a bad roadblock, and I know where it’s coming from,” Backman said via phone to Klapisch. “In the last phone call I had with Sandy [in September] he said, ‘I will do anything I can to help you.’ But he is not an honest man. People are telling me, ‘Sandy has it in for you. You’re being blackballed.’ ”
“I’ve talked to several teams, and every one of them has said, ‘You’re overqualified.’ How can you be overqualified when you’re trying to win? No one is overqualified unless there’s something else going on.”
Klapisch reached out to Alderson, but he declined to respond to Backman’s charges. However, one member of the organization insisted that despite their differences, Alderson would never go as far as to deliberately sabotage Backman.
Backman shared details on his dismissal which left open the question if he was fired or if resigned.
“I got a phone call and was told if I didn’t resign I would be let go,” Backman said, hearing that he’d somehow mishandled Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo during their minor-league stints in Las Vegas.
Backman called them trumped up charges saying all he did was give Conforto a day off after playing 19 games in a row and batted Nimmo in the No. 1 or 2 spot on front office orders.
“The only thing I can think of is that I have a strong personality and Sandy didn’t want someone like me working for him anymore, even though I’d always treated him with total respect,” Backman said. “But no one was more loyal to this organization than me. No one wanted those kids to succeed more than I did.”
The one-time scrappy second baseman for the 1986 Mets also had harsh words for Jeff Wilpon.
“I’ve been betrayed” by the Wilpons — specifically Jeff, not his father, Fred. “Jeff didn’t stand up for me” despite winning 376 games managing in the Mets’ farm system, capturing two Pacific Coast South Division titles and being named the PCL Manager of the Year in 2014.”
Backman has agreed to manage the Monclova club in Mexico until something better comes along, adding that he’d take a job in the U.S. in a minute if offered one.
“What I’m worried about is being out of sight, out of mind. If I go to Mexico, I’ll be out of sight from the people I’m trying to connect with.”
A sad and sour ending between the Mets and Backman to be sure.