Las Vegas 51’s skipper Wally Backman was named Pacific Coast League Manager Of The Year yesterday, a fitting honor given the former Mets 2B had led the Amazins’ Triple A affiliate to their second consecutive Division titles. Said news will undoubtedly fan the flames for those who’d just as soon see Backman unseat Terry Collins as the parent club’s manager, but along with warning there’s little or no chance of it happening, MetsBlog’s Matthew Cerrone vaguely alludes to Wally’s notorious temper (“he’d be great between the lines when the game is going on. In fact, I’m not sure anyone will be better…I worry how he’ll do in the time before and after the game, specifically in regards to the media”)
The reality is, like it or not, New York managers have to talk to reporters twice a day – and a lot more if you consider all the sidebar, off-record discussions that occur anywhere they can. My fear is that he’ll divide the clubhouse more than he’ll motivate and unite it. This might also be an issue if he’s bench coach, by the way.
I think his message will work at first, but could so easily turn south if the team doesn’t do well, and depending on the talent that could be beyond his control. I love our local reporters and media, they’re great at what they do; but that’s the problem, they’re great at what they do. I can totally see him saying things, on record, off record, building walls, isolating people, taking shots at people above and below and – even if those comments are justified and accurate – it will spin out on control in way that, unless he’s really, really good at damage control, will create a bigger circus than already exists at Citi Field.
That said, it would be fun to watch.