Wally Ball returns


The Mets hired Wally Backman to manage the Class-A Brooklyn Cyclones.

And I am happy.

A few years ago I visited Backman out in Prineville, Oregon, then wrote this piece for ESPN.com on his shattered life and shattered career. Backman was/is a sad case. Tragic in the most Greek of ways. Much of the damage was self-inflicted—the drinking, the domestic dispute, the police involvement, confronting the PA guy at the baseball game. He’s a volcano, and I hope the Mets fully realize that Wally Ball sometimes equals Crazy Ball.

That said, I believe Backman to be a good man; someone who cherishes baseball and will work hard to make sure this chance—his last chance—clicks. Consensus says he’s a killer manager–one who doesn’t take any s••• while forcing his players to grind out each hit … each at-bat.

Will it work? I think yes.

And I also think, come 2011, he’s the manager of your New York Mets.

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