Madoff, Backman, and an Old Baseball Jacket

November 17, 2009

Amidst an array of wood-carved ducks, Rolex watches, and uninspired artwork, a shiny blue and orange jacket with a number 2 on one sleeve and a NY Mets emblem on the other was proudly displayed. Looking at it from the front, you might think it could have belonged to any Mets fan that made their way to Flushing Meadows over the years. You may even envision Tom Seaver standing safely at first base due to a botched sacrificed bunt ready to run the bases. Or perhaps this was the one shred of paraphernalia worn by a family friend who vowed to never take it off until the Mets won the World Series again.

Whatever the case may be, when you proceed to investigate who this particular piece of clothing belongs to, it’s hard not to recoil in disgust. “MADOFF!” That’s right. The notorious mastermind of the most lucrative Ponzi-scheme of all-time was a New York Mets fan. So much so that he decided to pony up with the team’s ownership in hopes of expanding his evil empire until it all came crashing to a devastating halt. Nevertheless, to imagine Bernie Madoff donning his most prized Mets possession (bought at auction for $14,500) brings to mind our most recently notorious Mets aficionados.

Up first is pitcher Jerry Koosman. The legendary left-hander had his best years as a Met. But as the saying goes, it’s not how you start its how you finish. Koosman felt he was above the law or in this case the IRS and is currently serving a six-month jail sentence for tax evasion. Lenny Dykstra, who is fortunately not behind bars, owes tons of money to several financial institutions. “Nails” is so far in debt that he had to pawn away his championship rings and other sought after memorabilia that he acquired over the years as a professional baseball player.

As Koosman and Dykstra continue their honorary fall from grace, the Mets organization has recently announced that Wally Backman, another of the team’s black sheep, will be taking over the managerial duties for the Brooklyn Cyclones next season.

“He has always been a fan favorite in New York, symbolizing the blue-collar work ethic and unbridled dedication to winning that this city – and particularly this borough – values above all else in its sports stars,” Cyclones general manager Steve Cohen said. “Brooklyn and Backman were made for each other.” Perhaps, we will be seeing those exact words atop the Kosciusko Bridge on our way into Kings County.

As if Brooklyn doesn’t have enough of a slightly skewed reputation, now it has to embrace someone who has been arrested twice and has had financial problems in the past. Not to mention that Backman was also canned after just four days on a job once. I guess everybody deserves a second chance. I, personally, think the hiring of the fiery Backman is a good thing. It makes perfect sense. As long as he keeps his shirt on or jacket (haha) in this instance, he should have nothing to worry about.

Oh, by the way, Backman was released from the Chicago White Sox organization in 2003 as a minor league manager. Why? He was lobbying for the White Sox manager position. From who, you ask? Jerry Manuel.

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