New York Mets Fans Want Wally Back

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A petition urging the New York Mets to hire Wally Backman as a manager has begun to circulate on the Internet. The disgruntled New York fan base has begun passing the petition around, hoping to convince team ownership to bring the former second baseman back into the organization.

I think we all share the same passion in our team. This petition is just another small way to try to show how much the fan base cares about the team and its history.

A petition urging the New York Mets to hire Wally Backman as a minor league manager has begun to circulate on the Internet. The disgruntled New York fan base has begun passing the petition around, hoping to convince team ownership to bring the former second baseman back into the organization.

The "Hire Wally Backman" petition cites Backman's managerial track record and his ability to develop major league players as the main reason to bring Backman back into the Mets organization. Backman was named Sporting News Minor League Manager of the Year in 2004 and has managed current major leaguer players, including Dan Uggla, Aaron Rowand, Conor Jackson and Carlos Quentin.

Backman was a Major League infielder from 1981-1993 and was the second baseman on the 1986 World Series Champion New York Mets. He began managing in 1997 with the independent Catskill Cougars.

"I grew up watching Wally and those great Mets teams and have always been a big fan of his hustle and grit," says petition creator Michael Curtin. "He has a similar style as a manager -- emphasizing communication and inspiring hustle while demanding fundamental baseball. Any team should want guys like that in their minor league system. It just makes perfect sense to bring Backman into the Mets organization."

Backman was hired to manage the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004, following successful stints at the A and AA affiliates for the Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox. He was fired three days later, amid reports of prior legal problems.

The subject of Backman's past legal issues and his managerial track record have resurfaced with "Playing for Peanuts" -- a new TV series about minor league baseball.

"I have been watching 'Playing for Peanuts' on the Mets own network, Sportsnet New York," explains Curtin. "As soon as I created the petition, I reached out to the show's producer and told him about it."

"I think the petition is a great idea," says "Playing for Peanuts" producer John Fitzgerald. Backman has had legal problems, but those things happened 10 years ago." "Wally Backman is not a saint -- but he has apologized for what he did. He deserves a second chance."

Fitzgerald adds, "My camera crews followed Backman throughout the 2007 season and I've seen firsthand what kind of a manager he is. As a baseball fan and a Mets fan, I want Wally Backman in the Mets organization where he belongs. There is no doubt about his managerial ability -- the only question is why shouldn't someone get a second chance?"

"I think New York fans like the idea of bringing guys like Backman into the organization and giving them a second chance," says Mark Healey, the Executive Editor of Gotham Baseball Magazine. "He's paid his dues, has been an outstanding manager at the minor league level, and deserves a shot."

Given the recent events surrounding Willie Randolph's firing, Mets fans have been voicing their displeasure in many creative ways.

"I heard a group of fans is mailing chickens to the Mets front office," says Curtin. "I think we all share the same passion in our team. This petition is just another small way to try to show how much the fan base cares about the team and its history."

The Hire Wally Backman Petition can be found online at: http://www.petitiononline.com/backman/petition.html

About Playing for Peanuts:
"Playing for Peanuts" has been featured by The New York Times, New York Post, New York Newsday, Chicago Daily Herald and MinorLeagueDugout.com. The series is currently airing in 9 regional markets across the US. For more information, visit http://www.PlayingforPeanuts.com

About Gotham Sports Media:
Gotham Sports Media LLC, founded in 2005, publishes Gotham Baseball Magazine, the only periodical dedicated to comprehensive coverage of New York-area baseball. The company also owns and operates the Gotham Sports Network, a collection of award-winning websites that boasts the largest audience of any independent New York sports media outlet. For more information, visit Gotham Sports Media online at http://www.gothamsportsmedia.com.

Contact:
John Fitzgerald (producer, Playing for Peanuts) playingforpeanuts@gmail.com
Mark Healey (Editor, Gotham Baseball Magazine) heals9@gmail.com

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