Nov 16

Backman Gets Minor League Managing Gig

It isn’t what Wally Backman totally wanted, but for now, it is what he needs. Claiming Mets general manager Sandy Alderson blackballed out of baseball following his messy firing as Las Vegas’ manager in 2016, Backman was hired today as manager of New Britain (Conn.) of the Atlantic League.

Since the league is independent, with no affiliation to Major League Baseball, Backman’s charge could be true. We can presume Alderson didn’t give Backman a recommendation.

After leaving the 51s, Backman went to Mexico and managed Acereros de Monclova last year as was fired after 42 games. Instead of leaving, Backman became bench coach of Pericos de Puebla.

It is clear Backman is doing whatever it takes to get a chance to manage in the majors. If Yankees GM Brian Cashman really wants to think outside the box – and stick it to the Mets in the process – I’m sure the Bees would let Backman out of his contract.

BACKMAN: Managing again. (AP)

BACKMAN: Managing again. (AP)

“I’m excited to get going in New Britain,’’ Backman said. “Atlantic League teams care about winning and helping players careers grow. Those are two things I am very passionate about. I look forward to working with everyone there. Our team will play the game with passion and give their best effort every day. We are going to put a great product on the field that fans will be proud of.’’

A firebrand as a player for the 1986 champion Mets, Backman has proven to be a teacher as a minor league manager. He’s helped numerous Mets who were sent down to regain their hitting strokes and learn the nuances of playing in the majors.

Although Alderson wouldn’t give Backman props, he admitted as much late this season when he said Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario weren’t as prepared as he hoped they would be when they were brought up.

“Wally Backman is a proven winner,’’ Bees GM Brad Smith said in a statement. “His ability to instill a winning atmosphere and put an entertaining club on the field are two significant factors in bringing him aboard. We look forward to a successful 2018 season working with Wally and hope everyone joins us in welcoming him to the Central Connecticut community.’’

Sep 10

Doc back in baseball

There was a time when the nickname said it all. When you said “Doc,” everybody knew exactly who you were talking about. Dwight Gooden and the “K” corner was the best there was for several magical seasons at Shea Stadium.

Drugs took it all away, but he saved enough magic for one more night: A no-hitter while with the Yankees in 2006. The Mets’ franchise has never thrown one.

GOODEN: There was a time when he was special.

GOODEN: There was a time when he was special.

After bouncing around the Yankees and Mets in goodwill fashion the past few years, Gooden will now serve as a senior vice president of the Newark Bears, an Atlantic League franchise. Gooden will be the Bears’ community ambassador and work with youth baseball camps and leagues.

 

It is hoped Gooden’s story will sink in with more than a few kids.

I saw Gooden pitch several times and the feeling was always electric. The fastball sizzled and the curve fell off the table and there was always the feeling of utter domination.

Now is a good time to share some Doc moments.