Police: LI Ducks manager arrested on harassment, criminal mischief charges

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Long Island Ducks Manager and former New York Met Wally Backman was arrested Friday following an alleged domestic dispute.

Riverhead police confirmed that Backman, 59, is facing second-degree harassment and criminal mischief charges. Backman was arraigned in Riverhead court.

Police say they were called to his home Friday morning for a domestic dispute involving Backman and a woman.

Amanda Byrnes spoke to News 12 about the alleged incident. She says she started dating Backman about three months ago.

"(He) came right out of the bedroom here, and that's when he threw me up against the wall and pressed on my chest," says Byrnes. "It was a jealously rage, he's an alcoholic and he was heavily intoxicated from the night before."

Byrnes says Backman twisted her arm and hand and caused lacerations on her hand that lead to a sprained wrist.

Byrnes says she was at Thursday night's Ducks game, where Backman was ejected from the game and was angry. She says nothing like this had happened before, but after the alleged incident she said he was, "very irrational, cursing at me, telling me not to call the cops, do not get him arrested, do not press charges."

"He needs to get help, he needs to go into a batterers program, he needs anger management, he needs to refrain from drinking alcohol, he needs counseling, he needs intensive help and I don't deem this type of behavior acceptable at all," says Byrnes.

In a statement, Ducks President and General Manager Michael Pfaff says, "We have spoken with Wally and understand he categorically denies all the charges against him. Wally will continue as manager and neither he, nor the Long Island Ducks will comment further on this pending legal matter."

Backman's attorney told News 12 that the charges "have no factual basis" and are "completely false. When the DA's office fully investigates, Backman will be fully exonerated."

Backman was released without bail after his arraignment. He signed an order to stay away from Byrnes.

There's no prior domestic violence history between the two. But in 2001, Backman was arrested following a fight with his wife that later cost him his managerial job with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

MORE: The Kevin Conversation: 1-on-1 with Wally Backman

Backman is a 14-year Major League Baseball veteran, who won a World Series with the 1986 New York Mets. This is his first season as manager of the Long Island Ducks.

Backman managed the team’s Friday night game, just hours after being placed under arrest.

 VIDEO: Ducks fans react to the arrest of team manager Wally Blackman  


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