For those who say that Arizona saw enough in him to give him a chance, they were in the exact same situation as the Mets. They grasped at Wally because he interviewed well and was coming off a very good year with their A team, after what was perceived as a laid back manager they were looking for a fire and brimstone type. The background check or lack there of alone shows how thorough the process was....
Now the Mets appear to be in the same situation, despite all the warning signs and lack of experience they appear on the verge of making Backman the mgr. because he's having a good season and fits the mold they feel they need.
Now I necessarily don't feel the team needs a fire and brimstone type of guy, to me no matter how successful they are, they end up wearing out their welcome or burning out. Earl Weaver is the only one of that type of personality to last anywhere for a significant amount of time, Lou Piniella, Don Zimmer or Billy Martin all moved around despite success.
I would go after a developmental/evaluation type of guy someone who could get this team fundamentally sound while sorting through the roster. Unfortunately my choice for the position was just hired by the Orioles, Buck Showalter.
While I'm not a big fan of Melvin, who appears to be the other in-house candidate, as I did in this post there is a case to be made for him.
But if the fans and org. insist on a fiery type they do have an alternative within the org. who has a track record of success. I'll admit that while I thought of him in the past it was Davey Johnson who reminded me during his induction speech. Johnson said the year before becoming the mgr. of the Mets he had served as the farm director which greatly helped him when he was promoted. Johnson said that he knew all the players, the system depth and habits thanks to the position he held the year before.
Terry Collins is currently the Mets farm director, Collins resume reads like Backman with major league success and without the external issues. Now that doesn't mean he'll be successful, like I said these types tend to wear out their welcome or burn out and Collins has done that in two places.
Collins has managed at every level of the minors and had some degree of success, including like Backman a Sporting News Minor league Mgr. of the year ( source Baseball Library). He was league champions with the Lodi Dodgers in 1981 ( single A), took the Dukes a double A team to the playoffs three times; once league champions and once lost in the finals and then lost in the finals with the Bisons ( AAA pirates at the time). For a full bio go here.
He should also have an understanding of using relievers since he's served as a bullpen coach and scoring runners as a third base coach. In six years as a major league manager he had a winning percentage of .506 and in his first five season finished in second place.
As with most of these type managers he was proceeded by mild mannered people in Houston it was Arte Howe and in Anaheim Joe Madden. Initially he was heralded as the task master who would shape up a team perceived to be under achieving but eventually wore out his welcome.
In Houston after three second place finishes, publicly it was said they were looking for a manager to take them to the next level but there has been grumblings that veterans were sick of the task master. While you can't find an article on what veterans were disgruntled, what I did find was that Bagwell in an article to Baseball Digest discussed being made a co-captain by Collins which made him uncomfortable. I could see a few years ago if someone had tried to force Beltran into that situation the same thing happening but he's no longer seen as the long term future of the club.
For those who aren't sure if Collins is that similar to Wally just take a look at some of his comments in this LA Times article when he took over the Angels.
Probably never less comfortable than the year former Astros manager Terry Collins made Biggio and Bagwell co-captains. It was an attempt to make them more visible, more vocal. An exercise that made them try to be someone other than themselves.
"After all these years, I don't aspire to be anybody but who I've always been," he said. "If there are young guys looking at me now, I just want them to see a guy who works hard, who has great respect for the game, who has team goals that matter. And you hope that's enough." source BaseballDigest
But just as his third year was his final in Houston so was it in Anaheim, in the worst season of his career as a major league manager the Angels ended up 51-82. The Angels GM strongly supported him but it was rumored that the players gave him a vote of no confidence, in late August he resigned as the manager. For the record one of the greatest managers in baseball Mike Scioscia would take over the next year winning only 12 more games ( 70 v. 82) and the next year only five ( 75 wins), finally in his first playoff appearance three years later winning it all. Here was what transpired when the team was informed of Collins departure by the GM.
"If he's unhappy with something, he's going to let you know," said Rick Sweet, Collins' first base coach at Houston. "No one will not know where they stand."
Added Brent Strom, former Astro pitching coach: "There's no hemming and hawing with Terry. You get a stare in the eye, and you know what you're going to get."
Sometimes you get more than a stare. Sometimes you get called into Collins' office and get chewed out. The only thing Collins hates more than losing is a lack of effort.
As composed and measured as he is in public, Bavasi has an intense, emotional side. Perhaps the greatest example came six autumns ago, when he walked into the Angels' combative, noxious clubhouse with news to deliver. On that Friday, in the final weeks of his tenure as GM, Bavasi had to inform his petulant players that their manager, Terry Collins, had resigned.
Bavasi went into the vacant manager's office and rolled out an empty chair. He pulled it into the middle of the room as the ballplayers watched."Who wants it?" he said, breaking the silence. He paused for effect. "You all seem to think you could do the job."
He nodded at different faces around the room: "You? You?" Silence. Message sent, with great efficiency of language, loyalty for an embattled employee, and little in the way of a raised voice. Bavasi, it seems, is at his best away from cameras and tape recorders."He showed some (guts) by doing that," said Rex Hudler, a former Angels player and now a broadcaster. "That's leadership. That's a guy not being afraid of the ballplayers. source Seattle PI
Look I don't think this type of personality is necessary as I said before they usually wear out their welcome or burn out but if I had to choose one I would go with one who had experience, success at this level and no other issues that I might have to worrying about turning this into a circus....