NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Wally Backman is accusing Mets general manager Sandy Alderson of blackballing him from landing a minor league managerial job.
Backman will manage Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League this summer after being passed over for jobs in the states. The former Met told NJ.com’s Bob Kalpisch that a friend of his in the commissioner’s office told him Alderson has been working against him.
“There’s been a bad roadblock, and I know where it’s coming from,” Backman said. “In the last phone call I had with Sandy (in September) he said, ‘I will do anything I can to help you.’ But he is not an honest man. People are telling me, ‘Sandy has it in for you. You’re being blackballed.'”
Backman said he was open to managing in the lowest levels of the minors.
“I’ve talked to several teams, and every one of them has said, ‘You’re overqualified,'” he said. “How can you be overqualified when you’re trying to win? No one is overqualified unless there’s something else going on.”
Alderson declined to comment to NJ.com about the accusation. Another unnamed member of the Mets organization, however, insisted the GM would never sabotage Backman.
Backman managed in the Mets’ farm system for the past seven years, including the last five on the Triple-A level with Buffalo and Las Vegas. But he and the Mets parted ways after last season. Backman says he resigned under pressure from the organization.
Backman said he was told a major reason for why he fell out of favor with the Mets was that he mishandled outfielders Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo in Las Vegas. Reports surfaced saying Backman refused to play Conforto against left-handed pitchers or bat Nimmo in the leadoff spot.
But Backman has pointed to the box scores that say otherwise: Conforto was with Las Vegas for 33 games and started 31, going 20-for-41 (.488) with three home runs against lefties, and Nimmo batted first or second in 84 out of 97 games.
“The only thing I can think of is that I have a strong personality and Sandy didn’t want someone like me working for him anymore, even though I’d always treated him with total respect,” Backman said. “But no one was more loyal to this organization than me. No one wanted those kids to succeed more than I did.”