Wally Backman insisted Tuesday that he resigned as manager of the New York Mets' Triple-A affiliate because of a lack of respect and repeatedly getting passed over for the major league staff.
"It didn't look like there was any future for me," Backman told WFAN. "... I felt I earned more than I've been given."
Backman, 56, had managed in the Mets system since 2010 and led the Triple-A affiliate for the past five seasons.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and Backman both have characterized Backman's departure from the Las Vegas 51s as a resignation, although multiple published reports have labeled it as Backman being fired. Those reports portrayed Backman as being insubordinate, asserting he disregarded instructions to bat Brandon Nimmo leadoff and to use Michael Conforto against left-handed pitching.
Backman called those allegations hogwash. He said Conforto started in 31 of 33 games while in the Pacific Coast League and pinch hit in the other two games. Conforto was 20-for-41 with three home runs against left-handed pitching, Backman added. Backman also noted that Nimmo batted first or second in 84 of 90 games this season with Las Vegas.
"Whoever put that out there, the source within the system, they lied," Backman said. "And that's the part that pisses me off."
It's widely known that Alderson has never been enamored with Backman, a popular 1986 Met whose hiring was fueled by ownership. Asked about his relationship with Alderson and Mets manager Terry Collins, Backman said: "It's not Terry. Terry and I talked all the time. I think the biggest thing, and part of the reasoning behind it, is the lack of respect.
"I just felt for my time being there, the respect wasn't there. I could be wrong. They could say different. They could say they respected me. The things that went on this year turned my head in the direction it was time to move on." Wally Backman, on resigning from Mets
"When you work for an organization and do everything, you want to be respected for what you do. I just felt for my time being there, the respect wasn't there. I could be wrong. They could say different. They could say they respected me. The things that went on this year turned my head in the direction it was time to move on."
Pressed about his relationship with Alderson, Backman added: "I'm not going to say we never got along. It's all the talk that everybody's heard. Those type of things. I thought he respected me as a baseball person. I guess I wasn't the prototypical person that he liked."
Backman said he was disappointed that he did not join the Mets for September after the completion of the Triple-A season. He noted most clubs bring up the manager of their top affiliate. The Mets are bringing up Class A St. Lucie manager, Luis Rojas, for the final three weeks of the season.
"I would never ask to come to the major league team at the end of the season," Backman said. "Most Triple-A managers always go ... Usually you are asked."
Backman had been hired by the Arizona Diamondbacks in Nov. 2004 to manage their major league club, but was fired days later after previous arrests and financial issues surfaced.
Backman said he has the temperament and loyalty to be on a major league staff.
"Everybody calls me old school," Backman said. "I use every bit of the information that's available in today's baseball world."