Wally Backman To Manage Marlins?

With the surprise resignation of manager Edwin Rodriguez, the sinking Marlins are searching for a replacement. Last night, several sources indicated that the Marlins asked the Mets for permission to speak with Binghamton manager Wally Backman.

I know what you’re about to say: “but Joe, the Marlins already decided on 80-year-old Jack McKeon to take over as the interim manager, so that rumor is bunk!”

Well consider this: if McKeon is hired, that doesn’t mean the Fish didn’t make a phone call to Flushing before making that decision. Moreover, McKeon almost certainly will be carrying the “interim” tag — meaning, the Marlins are still hunting for a long-term replacement.

That said, isn’t it still possible that the Marlins could hire Wally Backman to manage their ballclub?

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Florida brain trust was considering Backman as a possible replacement. After all, he was on their list of candidates last fall — along with Larry Bowa, Bobby Valentine, Rich Renteria, Tony Pena, the now-resigned Rodriguez, and a few others. Ultimately, of course, they went with the mild-mannered, easygoing Rodriguez. Since that choice didn’t work out so well, and considering that the brash McKeon is supposedly tabbed to be the temporary field manager, it appears that the Florida front office is looking to change the attitude and culture of the ballclub — by inserting a leader who is unlike the last one.

Oftentimes, teams like to switch personalities in the manager’s seat almost as a rule. You know how the cycle goes: fiery manager is replaced by easygoing; then, easygoing is replaced by fiery; and so on. So the “take-no-bs” McKeon comes in after the “player’s manager” Rodriguez. But McKeon, at 80 years old, cannot be considered the long-term solution.

The Fish may also look back to the last time their team maintained a pulse through an entire 162-game season — back in 2006, when drill sergeant Joe Girardi was in charge. Girardi focused on fundamentals, preparation, and a positive mental attitude, and was a very strong presence in the clubhouse. The Marlins would seem to be looking for that same type of leadership again, and if so, one would think they’d go back to their list from last autumn and consider Wally Backman, Larry Bowa, and Tony Pena again (among others).

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. TeufelFan June 20, 2011 at 11:23 am
    Since when is one report followed by two other people citing the same report “several sources”? It’s the same source (a known Backman booster, mind you) being cited three times. Wally Backman is no closer to managing in the big leagues than you are, Joe.
    • daxmontana June 20, 2011 at 11:54 am
      Your hyperbole regarding Backman’s chance is unappreciated on a site that has devoted thousands of words making the case for the realization of that prospect.

      I do hope it doesn’t happen though, I think Wally might rip hanley’s throat out at the first sign of dogging it.

    • Joe Janish June 20, 2011 at 10:49 pm
      Actually the rumor was cited by two completely separate sources who I know for a fact do not collaborate, and once it was reported on MetsBlog I figured it had some legs since Matt Cerrone has access to inside info and rarely posts rumors unless he thinks there is a possibility they may be true.

      And BTW, those two sources were double the amount of sources that said Jack McKeon would be the next Marlins manager. This is what baseball is all about, especially on off days — rumors. If there was something more interesting to write about, I missed it.

      • TeufelFan June 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm
        Actually it wasn’t Cerrone that posted it, it was Baron, and he posted it quoting Healey’s tweet, not on any sources. And while Silva and Healey might have mostly different sources, they’re both part of the Backman online circle jerk that includes MetsToday so I suspect that came out of the Backman online community, not out of any actual concrete sources.
        • Joe Janish June 21, 2011 at 11:48 pm
          “Backman online circle jerk” ?????

          What in the world is that supposed to mean?

          Usually I’m the one with the conspiracy theories.

          So, if I, Matt Cerrone, and Eric Simon all write positive posts about, say, Justin Turner, does that make the three of us the “Turner online circle jerk” ?

  2. izzy June 20, 2011 at 11:40 am
    I have no clue if Backman could be a good manager and I have no clue if he’s in the mix this time…..BUT…..I really hopes he gets a big league job because I’m tired of the Wally Backman to manage…. articles.
    • FrankTaveras June 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm
      Like the “Aaron Heilman should be a starting pitcher” articles
      • Dan June 20, 2011 at 8:14 pm
        Oliver Perez has 36,000,000 reasons why Heilman should have been starting for the Mets, at least since 2006.
      • Joe June 20, 2011 at 8:27 pm
        At the time, I joined others who weren’t that excited about Heilman as a starter.

        Perez did his job in ’06, pitched well in ’07 and started to show his true colors in ’08. Heilman not being in the starting rotation did not the Mets to give Perez a simply moronic contract.

        • Joe Janish June 20, 2011 at 10:30 pm
          Well as long as we’ve switched the subject to Heilman … I still think he would’ve been better than Jose Lima, Jeremi Gonzalez, Chan Ho Park, Brian Lawrence, Dave Williams, Jorge Sosa, Alay Soler, Tony Armas, Claudio Vargas, and Brandon Knight combined.

          I’m also absolutely, positively certain he would’ve been better than Tim Redding. And he likely would’ve been better than Steve Trachsel in ’06.

          Oh but this post is about Wally. For those who are “tired” of hearing about him, my apologies. It’s a slow news day and Wally evokes passionate responses — both positive and negative. And that’s what this site is about: passionate discussion.

        • izzy June 21, 2011 at 8:49 am
          The Wally comment was not specific towards you. It was aimed at all sites, newspapers, sports TV networks etc. Wally must have the same media publicist as Bobby Valentine so i guess I’ll root for Bobby to be a manager as well since his name comes up at least as quickly as Wally’s for every openning!
        • Joe Janish June 22, 2011 at 12:03 am
          It is kind of weird that Bobby V. and Wally come up simultaneously almost as a rule. I can tell you for certain they don’t share the same publicist because I know for a fact that Wally doesn’t have a publicist.

          I think it is because there is a faction of the fan base that remembers Bobby V’s tenure gloriously, and there is another faction that is pining for Wally to get an opportunity, and beyond those two, there isn’t much passion for anyone else. Probably, it’s because there aren’t many personalities who manage these days, so it’s hard for any particular manager to strike a chord with the fan base. I mean, who is going to get excited about Bob Melvin or Clint Hurdle? They are perfectly nice people but have no story behind them; they’re boring. Love or hate Bobby V and/or Wally, but you have to admit they are not boring.

  3. T-Minus June 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm
    Hear, hear!

    Why is this and other sites obsessed with Wally Backman? What exactly is so great about a guy that has a DUI, bankruptcy, and domestic violence incident on his record? Yes, he’s been a good minor league manager, but so have a lot of other guys. Give someone a chance with a record of achievement but also CHARACTER.

    If we never see Backman in Flushing, I’m more than okay with that…for others, it would seem to be devastating.

    • FrankTaveras June 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm
      What does a DUI and domestic violence have to do with managing a baseball team? Terry Collins had a DUI and quit on his team three times — does he have “CHARACTER”? Tony LaRussa had a DUI – he fell asleep drunk out of his mind during spring training and one of his players died from drinking and driving — how is his “CHARACTER”? Billy Martin had multiple DUIs, fights, arrests, etc. — how was his “CHARACTER”?

      Character is subjective. Wins and losses are not.

      • Andy June 20, 2011 at 10:25 pm
        Also, the “domestic violence” reference is misleading. It makes it sounds as if he beat his wife, or at least beat someone, which everyone involved in the incident has publicly stated is NOT what happened.
        • Joe Janish June 20, 2011 at 11:08 pm
          True. In fact Wally ended up being the one attacked and getting his arm broken. But hey, people are going to believe what they want to believe. I’ll never understand the haters any more than the haters will understand why people support Wally. It’s like being a democrat or republican — you’re either on one side or the other.
    • Joe Janish June 20, 2011 at 10:43 pm
      Agree with Frank — what does a DUI, bankruptcy, and dropped domestic violence charges have to do with managing a baseball team? Not to mention all of those things happened over a decade ago. Are you holding Terry Collins’ DUI against him?

      The last three Presidents of the USA were dope smokers and/or coke addicts, so what about their character?

      I would argue that someone who has put himself into difficult situations, overcome them, and fought back to return to doing the thing that he loves has more character than someone who is squeaky clean and never had to handle adversity. Is anyone in this world perfect? Are you? If so then may ye cast the first stone.

      Plenty of people who have done far worse than Wally have gone much further in life and attained much more powerful and lucrative leadership positions. If the guy can do something well why is it a problem to let him do it? The job Wally wants is managing grown men to play baseball — something that is far less important or potentially damaging than, say, teaching kindergarten or running General Motors. If some GM somewhere thinks Wally can do a great job managing a MLB team then why should his past history matter one bit?

      • Mike June 21, 2011 at 10:12 am
        Joe re you counting the last three terms or the last three men? Because while I was young at the time I seem to recall Clinton didn’t actually inhale….
        • Joe Janish June 22, 2011 at 12:04 am
          Ha! Yeah, and Slick Willie didn’t have “sex” with that intern, either.
  4. Simmsy June 20, 2011 at 2:20 pm
  5. CatchDog June 21, 2011 at 8:38 am
    I’m excited to see what Wally can do now that talent in the form of Familia, Harvey and soon; Darin Gorski, Wilmer Flores, Jefry Marte, Cesar Puello & Matt Den Dekker and company will be heading to Bingy.

    Last season’s Cyclones & Sand Gnats, who both either won a first half Title or went to the postseason are now Sand Gnats & Lucie Mets. And both teams won again this season.

    That said, by the end of next year, the talented prospects on both teams will have played for Wally. As these kids move up, will Wally move with them like Davey Johnson did back in the early 80s?

    Would be a heck of a story and a pretty damn cool coincidence.

    • Mike June 21, 2011 at 10:13 am
      This describes my best case scenario since last summer. Don’t go Wally!
  6. Big John June 21, 2011 at 10:50 am
    Backman is overrated – period

    I wish Strawberry had punched that little redneck in the face as he said he was going to do.

    • Joe Janish June 22, 2011 at 12:07 am
      Overrated — period: that’s a strong case you present, Big John. Not sure how I can argue it.

      I agree with you — I also wish Strawberry punched that little redneck in the face. It would have been glorious to see a 6’6″ drug-abusing slacker get his butt kicked by a 5’7″ redneck.

  7. Ralph June 22, 2011 at 5:15 am
    Seriously? You think Wally Backman would have beaten up Darryl Strawberry? Uh…no.

    Let go of ’86, Joe – the world doesn’t revolve around Wally Backman: