Columnist argues that the Nationals should hire Wally Backman to “mess with the Mets’ mojo”


I’m no fan of Matt Williams as a manager and, assuming the Nats don’t rally big and win the NL East this year, you have to figure that he’s gonna get canned. But I’d be shocked if he was fired before the season ended. And I’d be even more shocked if John Harper of the Daily News gets his most fervent wish granted. That wish? Wally Backman in Washington. Not next year. This season!

So never mind hope; what the Mets should fear is [Nationals GM Mike] Rizzo reaching into his past and bringing in an instant-energy manager whose style might jolt the Nationals to life for the final six weeks of the season.

Yep, Wally Backman.

Might such a dramatic move even mess with the Mets’ mojo? Backman managed many of their young players, and certainly his presence, going from the Mets’ Triple-A manager to the Washington dugout, would raise the intensity of this brewing rivalry.

Harper who, like a ton of other New York columnists has been advocating for Backman for years, says “Imagine the potential for drama.”

I’ve never gotten the fascination with Backman, but I guess if you were a reporter when he was a player and he gave you pithy quotes and matched your grit-and-color-is-everything view of sports, you like the guy. Maybe he’d be a good big league manager. Maybe he wouldn’t be. I have no idea. But never has someone with the same basic credentials as any other number of minor league coaches or managers been talked up as much as Backman has been talked over the past several years. Never mind to the point where someone thinks it’s even arguably plausible that a contender would want to hire him in the middle of a pennant race. Let alone that the Mets would let said contender talk to him in the middle of the season.

But that’s how the Backman love in the New York press corps rolls. It’s all about how great a story or drama it would be, very little about baseball reality.

Maybe I should start writing like that. Posts imagining how great a story it would be if my extraordinarily implausible baseball fantasies came true. Speculative things about A-Rod and Barry Bonds organizing pro-gay rights rallies or secret documents being uncovered which showed that Bob Gibson hated throwing at guys and Hank Aaron and Roger Maris shared the same steroids dealer. Could be cool?