Ten years after Wally Backman was fired from his managerial position with the Arizona Diamondbacks before he ever managed a single game due to a report that surfaced saying he was hiding legal and financial problems (you can read more here), he's still hoping for another shot in the big leagues.
Backman, who started his comeback in independent ball, has worked his way up to Triple-A, where he is currently in his second season as the manger of the Las Vegas 51s in the Pacific Coast League. The 51s won a division title in 2013 and are poised to win another one this season (they are leading by 10.5 games with just a couple of weeks remaining).
Backman, 54, was a guest on the Omaha Storm Chasers pre-game show with Mark Nasser recently when Las Vegas visited Omaha. Nasser asked him what he learned from the experience with Arizona.
"Well, you know ... it was a growing period, I guess" he said. "They thought that I wasn't totally honest them. I felt that I was - you know, everything that was out there - just an unfortunate situation and I tried to put all that behind me.
"The Wilpons gave me another opportunity to come back into affiliated baseball and do what I want to do. I know what I'm capable of doing. My desires have not changed at all to manage in the big leagues. I think I'll get an opportunity at some time.
"Right now, my main concern and goal is to try to get these guys better here in Las Vegas and to try to get them to the big leagues."
Nasser asked him what made him think he had the tools to be a successful major league manager.
"Well, I'm a players' guy," Backman said. "The only thing people have to do is talk to the players that I have managed over the course of my career - the Carlos Quentins, the Dan Ugglas, the Conor Jacksons, the Aaron Rowands. They're the ones who can really speak for me as opposed to me speaking for myself.
"But I take a lot of pride in knowing how to run a bullpen. I think that's one of the key ingredients - that and communication with your players, and I try to keep my door open all the time and be honest with my players."
Nasser and Backman also had a little fun during the interview, talking about Backman's playing days with the Mets - more specifically the 1986 World Championship team. Backman said many of the players from that team still get together every other year, and he went on to hint that it wouldn't have mattered whether Bill Buckner had fielded the ball cleanly or not in Game 6.
"The Houston series was an unbelievable, well-pitched series," Backman said. "The guys were scared to face Mike Scott if it went to Game 7 and to be able to come back in Game 6 the way we did and win that game, and then doing the same thing basically against Boston in Game 6 of the World Series, coming back with Buckner making the error at first base.
"Everybody doesn't know, but Mookie [Wilson] was going to be safe at first, anyway. I don't know if we would have scored all those other runs, but it was very, very fortunate for us."