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Wally Backman Interviewing With Mets Today

Wally Backman gets his chance today to tell the New York Mets why he should be their next manager. It might already be too late for Backman, though, as reports have already surfaced that Terry Collins is the leading candidate for the job.

Collins managed the Astros and Angels for six seasons, compiling a 444-434 record. General manager Sandy Alderson said recently he looking for a "fiery manager," and Collins has that reputation. At 61, Collins has not managed in the majors since 1999. He spent last season as minor-league field coordinator for the Mets. He has also managed in Japan.

Amazin' Avenue took a close look at Collins' background. It is an impressive, varied one to say the least.

As for Backman, former Mets manager Davey Johnson has been offering him advice.

"Whether or not [Backman] gets hired or not, I think it's going to boil down to what [Alderson] thinks about Wally in developing players and whether he fits handling the talent that we have there," Johnson said. "Some of it has got age on it, but he's mostly dealing with younger players.

"My advice to Wally is really look at the talent and have a game plan about how you would approach it, and what you think the weaknesses and the strengths of the club are. That's the best candidate: One that understands the talent that is knocking on the door and the talent that is at the major-league level."

Johnson would like to believe Backman learned something from him. Johnson said his years playing for the Orioles -- under Hank Bauer and Earl Weaver in the 1960s and '70s -- prepared him to become a successful manager.

"Hopefully Wally picked up some things from me that he liked -- I'm hopeful of that," Johnson said. "Then when you go to manage you use all the things you like and you discard the things you don't like. Then you manage and put your own stamp on it."

Backman, you might recall, was hired as Arizona Diamondbacks manager for the 2005 season, only to be fired four days later when his legal and financial troubles surfaced. He managed the Brooklyn Cyclones in the Mets organization this past season.