How intense is Cyclones manager Wally Backman?
Look no further than last Thursday night, when Backman’s team was up 16-3 in a laugher over the Hudson Valley Renegades. It was the ninth inning, with one out and one on, when an opponent hit a long fly ball to right that appeared to sail foul.
But the umpire called it fair — and Backman went ballistic.
He rushed to the field, threw his hat to the ground and got nose to nose with the man in blue.
Never mind that even with the homer, the Cyclones would still have a comfortable 11-run lead — Backman was enraged.
“It was foul by more than a couple feet!” he said later, after cooling down. “That’s our pitcher, and those are his earned runs.”
Backman said his intentions were innocent enough when he stormed onto the field.
“I had no intention of getting thrown out,” he said. “But I said a word in there, and the ump said ‘Don’t say that again!’ And I let him have it.”’
“If he wants to jaw, I’ll jaw,” Backman added.
So it’s quite appropriate that Backman says that the managers he admires most are Lou Piniella and Jim Leyland, who earned more than their share of thumbs over the years.