As we noted yesterday, the Mets fired Triple-A manager Wally Backman. Or maybe he resigned. Everyone is being cagey about it. Today Marc Carig of Newsday has an article about the parting of ways which goes into detail about why the Mets canned him. Short version: Backman went rogue, defying the Mets front office’s directions on player usage, lineup construction and the like.
Carig cites numerous examples of Backman’s “pattern of defiance,” such as refusing to bat Michael Conforto against lefties, despite the fact that the Mets specifically sent him down to Vegas to work on that. Backman likewise hit prospects at the bottom of the order when the Mets wanted them at the top of the order so that they’d get more plate appearances.
Backman is no doubt going to fire back through his media surrogates. When he does so, expect the surrogates to use this incident as a means of taking shots at front offices for taking decisions away from so-called “baseball men” like Backman in order to centralize planning and development efforts, which are often seen as fueled by “new-fangled” or “sabermetric” philosophies. Never mind that the status of the minor leagues and the degree to which organizations exercise control over minor league affiliates has constantly evolved over the years.
And never mind that, refusing to following orders of your superiors tends to get you called something other than a “good baseball man.” At least when certain men in baseball do it anyway.