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It's Backman Day at the Ballpark

WallyBefore heading to the airport tonight to get to Raleigh for tomorrow's Sabres game, I'm taking a detour to the Bisons' clubhouse for a 2 p.m. press conference. It's a big announcement that will make official what we reported the first week of October: Former New York Mets second baseman Wally Backman (right) will be introduced as the Bisons' manager for 2012.

Backman, who led Double-A Binghamton last year, reportedly turned down a chance to serve as a coach under Davey Johnson in Washington so that he could manage in Triple-A. Johnson apparently advised him to do so.

Backman shared the second base platoon with Tim Teufel for Johnson's '86 World Series champion Mets and now takes over the Herd from Teufel, who will be Terry Collins' third-base coach in New York next season.

Backman has had a long road back to get this point. He was the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks for four days in 2004 until he was fired when reports surfaced of a DUI, an old battery charge and financial difficulties. He took two years off, started in independent ball in 2007 in Albany, Ga.  and has worked his way back up with the Mets from Class A Brooklyn to Binghamton and Buffalo.

Lots of folks in New York will be watching Backman closely this season. Large segments of the fan base want him to be Collins' heir apparent. By all reports, Backman is a funny, irascible character who should liven things up around Coca-Cola Field.

Don't believe me? Go on YouTube and look up "Playing for Peanuts". It's a documentary that was filmed in '07 when Backman managed the South Georgia Peanuts and some of his rants are hysterical. Too much profanity to link here though. Google and YouTube it. Trust me.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

AP Photo: Backman greets fans in 2008 on the final day at Shea Stadium. 

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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