08.18.10

AA’s Kannengieser : Don’t Let Citi Field Become Wally World

Posted in Baseball at 2:19 pm by

(the last time Wally Backman had a job in the big leagues)

While the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch suggests the recent L’affair K-Rod has rendered the status of Omar MInaya equally untenable to that of his manager, speculation over replacements for the lamest duck of all, Jerry Manuel, is likely to consume considerable column inches and bandwidth between now and the end of the 2010 season. Taking great pains to point out the odd DUI or domestic dispute here or there is no reflection on Wally Backman’s managerial qualifications, Amazin’ Avenue’s James Kannengieser argues the current Brooklyn Cyclones skipper’s resume “would justifiably be tossed in the initial screening reject pile if he had equivalent credentials while applying for any other job.”

There’s a difference between managing youngsters in Single-A ball and millionaires in the big leagues. How would a rookie manager largely unfamiliar with Met players be perceived in the clubhouse? Any answer I provide would be idle speculation, but I can’t imagine veteran Mets embracing someone with no MLB coaching experience who immediately starts throwing bats and flipping buffet tables. Someone with more of a track record might be better equipped to earn the players’ respect.

Some have argued that Backman’s in-game strategy isn’t an extension of Jerryball, but there’s evidence that it is. It’s tough to come down on him for this, as player development is king in the minor leagues. Dropping five sacrifice bunts down a game is slightly more acceptable if under the guise of teaching. Who knows exactly how Backman would manage, but given his attitude and brief time in Brooklyn, smart money is on bunt-a-palooza.

If MLB manager is his goal, employment as MLB coach would be a nice first step. One doesn’t make a jump from Single-A to MLB, much like one doesn’t jump from junior accountant to CFO. Unfortunately, this is the Mets. If Manuel is fired, I would not be shocked to see Backman hired and marketed as the big offseason acquisition. From “significant [character] clause” in his Single-A contract to leading a $130 million payroll team in just one year. A true Horatio Alger success story.

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