Recently ruled a poor fit for the Mets’ Double-A managerial opening in Binghamton, Wally Backman, he of the 72 hour tenure as Diamondbacks skipper, wails to the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapish about the injustice of it all. (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
In a matter of four days, Backman’s career in Arizona was over. The D-Backs were embarrassed for their failure to conduct a thorough background check, and were determined to wash their hands of the matter — even as Backman accepted responsibility for the DUI and pointed out that a restraining order filed by his wife against him eventually was dismissed.
Since then Backman (above, left) continually has apologized, but that has yet to impress the baseball community. Backman showed up at the winter meetings in Dallas last month, hoping for a break. The Pirates seemed interested, but had no openings.
Maybe next year, they said.
“I’m stumped why I can’t get a job, even on the minor league level,” Backman said by telephone Saturday. He was speaking from his home in Pineville, Ore., where, he says without embarrassment, he spends most of his time hunting and fishing.
“It’s not like I robbed a bank or did drugs,” Backman said. “The whole thing boils down to a lousy divorce and a DUI. I’ve paid for that mistake. The president of the United States has a DUI on his record and he’s still president. I made a mistake and learned from it. I’ve grown up.”
The Mets, of all teams, might’ve been ready to believe Backman. He spoke to Jeff Wilpon, the COO, who offered no objection to his return. With clearance from ownership, Backman’s candidacy was referred to Minaya for what Backman thought was a baseball-only evaluation.
And here’s where he thought he was home free. If Backman could offer the Mets anything, it was the ability to groom prospects. He twice was named by Baseball America as the magazine’s best managerial prospect — in 2002, when he was managing Class AA Birmingham in the White Sox’ organization, and in 2004, after one season in the Diamondbacks’ system managing Class A Lancaster.
“What I don’t understand is how the Mets were willing to interview me for a job on the major league level, and now they won’t consider me for the minor leagues,” Backman said. “It’s not even like I’m asking them to take a risk. I’ve proven myself on the minor league level. I know how to manage kids. My track record proves that.”