wow, I'm talking to my self on a forum....
I figured out my issue. I was typing ' into pico when it is supposed to be ` (the charcter to the left of 1)
and I ended up writing it like this anyways:
mysqldump --opt -uuser -ppassword -h host.name db_name > mt3_backup.$suffix
Oh, and I tried using +%D instead of +%y%m%d becuase it was less typing, but that formats the date 4/14/05 and slashes are invald for file names.
So I've got it working now - but I'm posting this if anyone else has the problem later on. Thanks anyways!