Mancuso: Wally Is One Thing but Sandy Is Another

Quote from  NY Mets GM Sandy Alderson about Wally Backman: “Wally did a great job for us at Las Vegas. Nobody has called about Wally.” The GM and Backman, who helped win a World Series for the Mets in 1986 are officially in a war of words.

Well wasn’t it official a few months back when Backman was no longer Alderson’s Triple-A manager in Las Vegas? Wasn’t it official a year ago or more when Backman was not considered for a vacant coaching position on the staff with manager Terry Collins?

This is becoming more bizarre than the theatrics going on with the inauguration of  a new President in Washington D.C.  

Backman is not managerial material, so said the Arizona Diamondbacks who hired him and quickly reneged on the agreement four days after. And if he was managerial material don’t blame Alderson for putting a blemish on the career of Wally Backman in baseball circles.

As one reliable source said, “Sandy has a more important agenda and Wally Backman is not one of them.” Though to the credit of Wally Backman, and more so from position players, he does get respect and they say he is a good teacher of the game.

So what continues to make this war of words more interesting by the day? The baseball off season is an example of getting headlines with rumors and teams with their ongoing transactions of players and personnel.

Unfortunately, it was Backman who chose to speak and begin the war of words. The personality of Sandy Alderson has always been to do and get things done quietly.

And until otherwise noted, we in the media are not mind readers and go with information. Those in the know say, Backman has the managerial capability but there is that dark cloud still looming,  revolving around the Diamondbacks job that wasn’t in 2004.

Who to believe? This is an issue of who knows? And for that matter, who really cares because the main objective for the Mets GM is to appease his fan base and come out of of spring training with projections that the Mets are championship material.

Wally Backman does not have a job and Sandy Alderson still has some work to do, and that’s what matters.  Though the chances of Backman getting a job with the Mets organization are as slim as Donald Trump not taking the Oath of Office this coming week.

The verdict on Sandy Alderson is doing his job and reporting to ownership. Quietly he performs to expectations and one look at retaining Yoenis Cespedes does provide an answer to his capability in the GM role.

But, Wally Backman is a fan favorite and that is not appeasing them. They call for Backman to succeed Terry Collins or to be a part of the coaching staff. Backman gets bypassed and the fans react on social media.

Alderson listens and answers quietly to all the rumblings coming from Wally Backman. The former Met said he had two options, either fired or resign from the Las Vegas managerial job and he was quickly gone but did not go away.

Yes, go to the media Wally Backman and he certainly did. We do listen! And, oh yes, there can be two sides to this drama and it does relate to Sandy Alderson. He can get rid of a player as quickly as he signed him.

The GM was never a fan of Angel Pagan

Pagan wanted to be pulled out of the lineup on a hot June weekend in Texas back in 2011. He cited the reason from heat exhaustion. The GM heard and went on a quiet tirade, so  Angel Pagan was in the doghouse and ran out of town.

Remember that trade in the offseason? Pagan to the San Francisco Giants for pitcher Ramon Ramirez and Andres Torres who did not amount into a very good replacement in the outfield. 

Then it was about the Mets shoring up their plan in the bullpen and Torres, as Alderson said gave the Mets better depth in the outfield. But that was also a knock at Angel Pagan who moved on and was instrumental in the Giants World Series win the following year. 

Quiet was Sandy Alderson then as he is now, but the name of Wally Backman is always there to haunt him. Who to believe is the matter for a jury to decide.

What really matters again is Sandy Alderson doing his job and there can be no complains there with assuring fans a championship team will be on the field in April.

Wally Backman is another story. It’s time to move on and perhaps one day, and real soon this Mets fan favorite will resurface somewhere but not with the Mets.

Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso 








About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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