Today, the Las Vegas 51’s (the new Triple-A affiliate of the Mets) held a media reception and interviews with Mets officials that included Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson, and Jeff Wilpon.
Announced at this conference today was that Wally Backman will return to manage the Triple-A team in 2013.
Update (10/26): Along with announcing Backman’s return to manage the Triple-A squad, Alderson weighted in on some other aspects of the new relationship with the 51s. He touched on the fact that the relationship between the clubs was somewhat forced saying, “There was a perception that this was a marriage of necessity. To some extent it was, but at the same time, we’re happy to be here. The best way to express that was to have a strong showing (from the big league club). This is not something we’re going to have to endure. We view it as a positive thing. We want Las Vegas to feel, like we do, that it’s a constructive relationship.”
The Pacific Coast League (where the 51s play) is seen as a hitter’s league which is opposite of the International League where the Mets Triple-A team previously played. Collins said that it shouldn’t be an issue for hitters or pitchers. He said, “If you look at the guys who are big players in the coast league, they’re big players in the majors.” As far as pitchers go he added, “You’re not going to have easy outings, but that’s what the big-league level is all about — grinding it out. To get experience in this ballpark and league, it’ll make pitchers better.”
Neither side would comment whether the relationship will last longer than the two-year contract. However, they did say talks have also begun with the two to play a spring training game there this upcoming spring.
Photo courtesy of Official 51s Twitter account (@LasVegas51s)