You can count “The Bad Guys Won” author Jeff Pearlman amongst those touting Wally Backman’s qualifications for the Mets’ managerial vacancy. “let me be the 100,542nd person to endorse him,” Pearlman gushes, though he offers a reason or 3 beyond mere nostalgia.
Backman is exactly what the Mets need. He doesn™t take shit. He™s hard-nosed and gritty and a big piece of the franchise™s history. He™s insanely hungry. Most important, he™ll manage the sort of team that Citi Field requires. Throughout his minor league managerial career, Backman™s specialty has been run generation. He doesn™t field teams that wait for home runs. He steals, he hits and runs, he bunts, he demands hard slides and balls-out intensity. For years, the Mets have been extremely dull. Backman is anything but. Really, he™s the ideal candidate. No question.
In stark contrast, upon learning Backman has been summoned for a second interview with Mets GM Sandy Alderson, Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra dismisses such news as, “kabuki theater being put on by the team in order to make it appear that they are actually taking a hard look at the man who, inexplicably, has become the darling of the talk radio wing of the Mets fan base.”
He has never coached or managed in the big leagues. He has never coached or managed at AAA. He hasn™t even been in AA ball for the better part of a decade. While some point to his success managing the Brooklyn Cyclones, that™s the New York-Penn League for cryin™ out loud. Entry level for anyone, but apparently not Backman, according to his supporters. Why? Because he played for the Mets. Goody, so did Kevin McReynolds, and I don™t see him on anyone™s short list