Still, with nearly a dozen Las Vegas 51s players and alumni on the traveling roster, the Mets were keenly aware of the dilemma that Las Vegas creates for them on an annual basis. Backman, the Mets' Triple-A Las Vegas manager, had just completed that process late one night last year when he wandered out to his car and struggled to comprehend what he was seeing. Forced to house their top affiliate in Las Vegas due to a sheer lack of other options general manager Sandy Alderson once likened the situation to losing a game of "Old Maid" the Mets have accepted their situation, if not entirely embraced it. After all, as Mets manager Terry Collins noted, "There are bandboxes in the big leagues, too." Just not quite like this. Things were noticeably more pleasant Saturday afternoon when the Mets took on the Cubs in a Spring Training exhibition, as the sun shone brightly and temperatures hovered in the high 60s. After most games here at Cashman Field, Wally Backman sits in his office, fills out some paperwork and ties up loose ends. "The [thermometer] out there in the parking lot said 106 at midnight," Backman said.