Wally Backman starts over with Brooklyn farm team
Wally Backman wants another chance to manage in the majors. The former Mets second baseman, fired after four days with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004, was introduced Tuesday as manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones, New York's Class-A farm team in the New York-Penn League. "I have to start over somewhere," Backman said at the club's Coney Island ballpark. "I couldn't really ask for a better minor league job." It's his first position with a major league organization since the Diamondbacks hired him as manager five years ago. They abruptly let him go after reports about his off-the-field issues: an arrest for drunken driving and another for assault, along with financial problems. The 50-year-old Backman said Tuesday his DUI arrest from 1999 and "domestic issue" in 2001 were "all taken care of." "I try to put all that stuff behind me now," he said. "I take full responsibility for the things that I did wrong. But I want to move forward again." A member of New York's 1986 championship team, the fiery Backman acknowledged he felt blackballed by big league clubs "to an extent" after the Arizona saga. He's grateful to the Mets for giving him another opportunity and his goal remains to become a big league manager. "My heart I don't think ever left New York," said Backman, who called chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon about a month ago to ask if the team might be interested in bringing him back. Before he was hired, the club conducted an extensive investigation and background check that probably took at least two weeks, Mets executive vice president Dave Howard said. Backman's contract includes specific language about his behavior that could be characterized as a zero-tolerance policy, Howard said. NOTES: The Mets promoted Tim Teufel, Backman's old platoon partner at second base, from manager at Class-A St. Lucie to Double-A Binghamton.