Audrey: I don’t want to stay in the car anymore. I wanna go home. I don’t want to go to Walley World.
Rusty: Yeah! It’s been a real drag, Dad! Maybe we should try some other time.
Ellen: What do you think?
Clark: I think you’re all f****d in the head! We’re three hours from the f***ing fun park and you want to bail out. Well, I’ll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. This is a quest! It’s a quest for fun! I’m gonna have fun and you’re gonna have fun. We’re all gonna have so much f***ing fun we’re gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles! We’ll all be whistlin’ zip-a-dee-doo-dah out of our assholes!
Rusty: Dad, you want an aspirin of something?
Terry Collins, as we all know, has a contract that runs until the end of the 2013 season. From the time Collins was hired the Mets have employed 1986 Mets hero (and certified “2 Guys” All-Time Member) Wally Backman as a minor league manager. This has created a mindset with many that Wally is a manager-in-waiting, and that when Collins eventually is replaced it will be by Backman. No matter our individual opinions on Collins merits to stay on, in the event he is replaced would you like to see Backman get his shot with the Mets?
No, Mike, I would not. I think he’s a bench coach in the Larry Bowa mold, I can’t imagine Wally lasting under the glare of the NY spotlight. He’d pop a vein by May 15th.
However, I must add that to Wally’s credit, he has handled himself over the past 2-3 years with uncommon grace and maturity. He’s bid his time, acted professionally (by Wally standards), and been a good soldier. No grousing, no gripping.
When Omar Minaya was GM and people talked dreamily about Wally, I thought they were delusional. I figured, “No way Omar hires a guy in a wife-beater t-shirt.” We’ll never know. But it’s just as impossible for me to imagine buttoned-down Sandy Alderson — think: Art Howe, Terry Collins — going for a dumb, swaggering, foul-mouthed jock like Wally. I don’t see the fit.
What about you?
I can’t see it. In many ways Backman feels too much like Collins, when we hired him the negative around Terry was that he was too fiery and tough with players. He has worked to change somewhat, but hiring Backman feels like Collins 2.1. We already have Collins 2.0, if we need to change — I want full change.
Tim Teufel isn’t my guy either, by the way; the scuttlebutt wasn’t great about his time in Binghamton. However, I am very curious about Ryan Ellis, a two-time manager of the year in the Mets system. He’s 34 years old and all he’s done is win with the young guys, so yeah, I like the Davey Johnson parallel, everybody grows up and wins together. You cultivate that mentality. That said, Ellis appears to be a couple of years away, and lacks major league experience, so the timetable might be off. I really don’t know much about him.
Are you sitting down, Mike? Because I’ve got something to tell you.
Not another threat to bolt to another blog? That can get old in a hurry.
I’ve changed my mind about Collins. Or, I should say, about his contract situation. I still don’t trust his instincts or acumen. That said, he has many upstanding traits and, oh hell, I think he’s earned a damned one-year extension. I’d give it to him now. If everybody in the organization is looking down the road, it’s counter-productive if our manager is operating on a short-term plan. Collins has been dealt a crappy hand for three straight years — given rosters with more holes than Bonnie & Clyde — and despite it all, he’s carried himself with dignity and pride. There is value in stability and consistency. And as my earlier comments underscored, I just don’t see the heir apparent waiting in the wings.
There you go, now doesn’t that feel better? Bottom line, Terry is not the problem. I would hate for this management team to have the opportunity to scapegoat Collins and try to sell a managerial change as some big move this year, or this offseason. To paraphrase James Carville, “It’s the roster, stupid.” I want that kept clear and a one-season extension for Collins keeps the focus where I want it.
On his bosses.