Short of announcing the retirement of Art Howe’s number, the following might be the most genuinely surprising Mets announcement in some time ;  the Amazins’ NY-Penn League affiliate Brooklyn Cyclones confirmed this morning that former Mets 2B Wally Backman, whose domestic violence issues, DUI arrest and financial troubles have commanded far more attention than his successful stints guiding minor league clubs at a variety of levels, will manage the Coney Island squad in 2010.

The ‘Clones deserve credit on a number of counts.  For starters, giving Backman another chance to succeed in an MLB-affiliated league given the scrutiny he’ll be under is a pretty gutsy move, one that suggests the Wilpons are more interested in how the player Darryl Strawberry once called “that little redneck” might help player development (even Tom Cable doesn’t think this was great for public relations).  For another, their press release on the subject openly cites Backman’s 4 day tenure as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, one that ended when the Snakes glumly admitted they’d not done their due diligence on Wally.