Friday, January 27, 2006

About Wally...

When Kevin McReynolds bulled over Mike Scoscia to score the winning run in the ninth at Dodger Stadium in Game One of the 1988 NL playoffs, the swagger returned.

And why not? During the season the Mets had won 10 of 11 from the Dodgers. And afterall, hadn't the incredible consecutive scoreless streak by Orel Hersheiser just been broken by back-to-back doubles by Gregg Jefferies and Darryl Strawberry in front of Gary Carter's game-winning hit? A Hersheiser start went to the Mets with 20 game winner, David Cone, going the next day was cause for celebration. And who could blame?

But a booming voice came from the second Dodger Stadium locker, "Don't get happy."
The man, small in stature, yet big in intagibles repeated his words several times. Wally Backman's words would prove prophetic, almost like the Ides of March.

The Mets would win only two more and 1988 post season vision became Kirk Gibson's Roy Hobbs moment in Game One against the Oakland A's. I'd imagine Backmamn has thought to himself many times about his feelings after Game One. And with language none to pretty and not for prime time TV.

Like it we would for it to be otherwise, Major League Baseball is played by grown men. Its a man's world of hostility, power, raw emotion. We've not all been angels on this earth, Backman no exception. Backman used to be fined as a minor leaguer a quarter every time he used the F-word. F-bombs they're called. We all used them and occasionally drank to excess, too. Grown man in a man's world. Backman was a throw back to another time and God bless him for it.

It came as no surprise that Backman became a successful minor league mananger, coveted by many organizations. And touted to be a future manager at the Major League level. It happened, albeit briefly prior to last season with the Arizona Diamonbacks. That was until revelations about his past came to light. We're all not angels.

So Backman sits in a deer stand somewhere in Oregon. Still. No phone calls. No job. Its time. See Bob Klapish's column in the Bergen record. I'll link it later.

1 Comments:

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Metstradamus said...

Bob,

Do you think the game of baseball (and all sports in essence), lost a little something as it's athletes have been thrust into an intense spotlight forcing them into becoming someone that they are not? If the '86 Mets were all born twenty years later and played now for example, to me that team would have a tougher time surviving the season now because an incident like the Cooters incident would have been exponentially more magnified by all of the extra media outlets that there are now.

Certainly the personalities involved wouldn't have cared about that, and I always got the impression that the '86 Mets were great at circling the wagons when things got rough. But I think there would have been a lot more nervousness and guardedness surrounding the team, perhaps changing the course of history. And if those players were forced to change who they were as people, would they have been as effective as players?

Thanks for your time and for the good read.

 

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