In recent weeks, we have seen the Mets unable to bunt situationally, run the bases poorly, make sloppy or boneheaded moves in the field and generally, lack the standard fundamentals that Major League players should possess.
Both were heralded as elite level prospects, but it didn’t take long to see just how ill-prepared they were and neither were able to hit the ground running. In fact, many rival prospects who were ranked behind Rosario and Smith have shined and now figure prominently in their team’s present and future.
“There’s not enough work on fundamentals,” Backman said. “The years I was there, if I saw something that needed correcting with a player, I had to do it myself.”
Backman, who spent seven years managing throughout the Mets system, was not brought back by the organization after the 2016 season. Since then, he has managed for the New Britain Bees in indie ball, but has previously coached in the White Sox and Diamondbacks systems as well.
“Communication was very good in both of those other organizations, from the farm director on down,” Backman said. “They definitely worked harder on fundamentals. I don’t know why but it wasn’t that way with the Mets.
“I always thought there should be more emphasis on the little things. I made players understand that during the season. My most important job was to prepare guys to go to the big leagues, and make sure they understood what they needed to do to stay there.”
Harper also reached out to a former Mets player, who chose to remain anonymous because he is friends with owner Fred Wilpon. However, Harper said he knew this person agrees the Mets have done a poor job developing players.
“I like Fred too much to say what I really think,” he said.
Backman told Harper that he remembers sitting in an organization meeting with Wilpon in attendance several spring training’s ago, and another coach mentioned “The Cardinal Way,” and raved about how fundamentally sound they were.
“Fred was sitting there listening to that,” Backman said, “and he said, ‘I don’t want to hear about the Cardinal way. I want there to be a Met Way. I want people to talk about the Met Way.’”
Whatever that “Mets Way” is, it’s not working, and Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario are key examples. That much is true.