11/03/2004 2:22 PM ET
D-Backs stand behind Backman
PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks are sticking with new manager Wally Backman after it was learned Tuesday that he was involved in some off-field incidents over the last five years.
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
Backman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge for an incident that occurred in October, 2001, and also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in an incident that occurred in July, 1999. In addition, the 45-year-old filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last year.
"Based on the facts that are known now, we're supporting him and sticking with him," Diamondbacks lead owner Ken Kendrick said.
Kendrick's support, though, did not come until he had done some checking on the incidents. Of particular concern to him was the domestic incident in which Backman had an altercation with Sherrie Rhoden, a friend of his wife Sandi.
As soon as the incidents came to light in a New York Times story Tuesday, Kendrick summoned Backman to a meeting where he pressed him for details. Kendrick also talked with Sandi Backman and Rhoden separately as he tried to piece together exactly what happened.
"They all told me that it was not what the police report made it out to be," Kendrick said. "I talked to them all separately and they each had the same version of events."
Backman suffered a broken arm in the altercation when Rhoden struck him in the arm with a bat.
Rhoden told The Arizona Republic that the incident was her fault.
"I'm terribly embarrassed it has come back to hurt Wally," she told the paper. "It was not his fault."
Backman was ordered to undergo evaluation for anger management and it was determined he did not need further counseling.
For the DUI conviction, Backman was fined $560, spent one day in jail and was ordered to undergo alcohol counseling. The East Valley Tribune reported that Backman remains on unsupervised probation through Jan. 3, 2006.
"You can certainly question his judgment in those situations," Kendrick said. "But I don't think after looking into all of this that he's a bad guy. After getting all the facts we are confident in going forward with him."
The Diamondbacks did do research on Backman prior to his hiring, but not a criminal background check. That will change for all future high profile hires according to Kendrick.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.