Q&A with Cyclones Manager Wally Backman

BROOKLYN, NY - If you have paid attention to the Brooklyn Cyclones this season, you will see a roster of players having strong seasons on a league title contender. The man at the helm is manager Wally Backman who returned to the Mets organization in 2010 to lead the New York-Penn League team. InsidePitchMagazine.com sat down for a Q&A with Backman about his summer, his managerial style and more.

Inside Pitch: What was the best part of your first year back coaching with the Mets organization?

Backman: Well, I think the best part of it is coming back to New York. I always miss New York, but the best part of it is knowing that I feel that I set up great foundation for these players. They're moving in the right direction, they've all gotten better. I think that's one of the things as a manager or as a coach that you want to be able to say at the end of the season that these players have gotten better and I know they have gotten better. Over the course of that, we've won a lot of baseball games – that's why we're where we're at.

Inside Pitch: What was the methodology with coaching this team?

Backman: I coach this team the way I would coach any team. I try to be an aggressive manager, educated aggressiveness when we steal bases, when we hit and run knowing that we have the right type of guys, we work on those things. I like to force the defense to make mistakes. The players knew the type of manager that I was and they bought into the system very early in the season and we've had a lot of success with it.

Inside Pitch: How did you weigh the cost of winning with development?

Backman: To me, winning is a part of developing and when you have to bunt and you have to hit and run and you have to move runners over from second base and get runners in from third base with less than two outs, that's a part of developing. Those are the things that players have to learn to do before they can get to the ultimate level and to the big leagues, or even to move up you want those guys to be consistent. Consistency is the key to success and our guys have worked very hard at it and that's why I like to be able to know I can go away from this season saying that we made those players better players.

Inside Pitch: How energizing was it for you to be back with this organization and manage this affiliate?

Backman: Very much, very much to be able to come back to New York. When I got traded from the Mets and went to the Twins, it was almost like a piece of my heart was gone. To come up with this organization and be with it as long as I was, to be able to come back, it's almost like you're going home for the first time to see your family.

Inside Pitch: What, if any, were the challenges of managing this summer?

Backman: There's always challenges. You always have certain players that are more demanding than others. To be able to take the time out with some of the guys that you might not consider a major league prospect, to be able to spend the time with them and to teach them the right things so they can further their career and get the most out of their ability.

Inside Pitch: Do you in the back of your mind think of this job as a stepping stone to New York?

Backman: I got the opportunity to come back. The Wilpons gave me the opportunity to come back and I use this as an evaluation time for not only the Mets to evaluate me, but for all organizations to evaluate me after what had happened.


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Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nInside Pitch: What was the best part of your first year back coaching with the Mets organization?
\r\n
\r\nBackman: Well, I think the best part of it is coming back to New York. I always miss New York, but the best part of it is knowing that I feel that I set up great foundation for these players. They're moving in the right direction, they've all gotten better. I think that's one of the things as a manager or as a coach that you want to be able to say at the end of the season that these players have gotten better and I know they have gotten better. Over the course of that, we've won a lot of baseball games – that's why we're where we're at.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What was the methodology with coaching this team?
\r\n
\r\nBackman: I coach this team the way I would coach any team. I try to be an aggressive manager, educated aggressiveness when we steal bases, when we hit and run knowing that we have the right type of guys, we work on those things. I like to force the defense to make mistakes. The players knew the type of manager that I was and they bought into the system very early in the season and we've had a lot of success with it.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: How did you weigh the cost of winning with development?
\r\n
\r\nBackman: To me, winning is a part of developing and when you have to bunt and you have to hit and run and you have to move runners over from second base and get runners in from third base with less than two outs, that's a part of developing. Those are the things that players have to learn to do before they can get to the ultimate level and to the big leagues, or even to move up you want those guys to be consistent. Consistency is the key to success and our guys have worked very hard at it and that's why I like to be able to know I can go away from this season saying that we made those players better players.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: How energizing was it for you to be back with this organization and manage this affiliate?
\r\n
\r\nBackman: Very much, very much to be able to come back to New York. When I got traded from the Mets and went to the Twins, it was almost like a piece of my heart was gone. To come up with this organization and be with it as long as I was, to be able to come back, it's almost like you're going home for the first time to see your family.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What, if any, were the challenges of managing this summer?
\r\n
\r\nBackman: There's always challenges. You always have certain players that are more demanding than others. To be able to take the time out with some of the guys that you might not consider a major league prospect, to be able to spend the time with them and to teach them the right things so they can further their career and get the most out of their ability.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Do you in the back of your mind think of this job as a stepping stone to New York?
\r\n
\r\nBackman: I got the opportunity to come back. The Wilpons gave me the opportunity to come back and I use this as an evaluation time for not only the Mets to evaluate me, but for all organizations to evaluate me after what had happened.
\r\n
\r\n
\r\nTo Not Miss a Beat of All the Mets' Prospects News and To Have Access To This Fall's Top 50 List and scouting reports,Subscribe to InsidePitchMagazine.com
\r\n
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