It’s been a roller coaster ride of perception for Terry Collins as Met manager. There was initial skepticism when he was hired, shifting to huge praise during good team stretches and finally calls for his job during the bleak second half of 2012. All in a two year period! As both years had an eerie similarity (start well, collapse, rinse, repeat) the flip flopping has a basis. The team itself was something of a roller coaster in 2011 and 2012 and the manager lives under the microscope. But to-date I have not wavered in my support of Collins. He has been dealt a very tough hand and worked through it professionally. I’m happy he was retained and wish he would get a small contract extension.
Collins reminds me of a Labrador Retriever puppy. He’s so GRATEFUL and ENERGETIC and EAGER. He’s the perfect employee for the Wilpons. No matter what kind of crap they hand him, Collins will get out the chamois cloth and shine it up. But count me in as one of those fans who’ve grown weary of Terry, partly for the increasingly inane things he says after games. He mismanaged Jason Bay badly — that whole West Coast trip when he wanted “to get Jason going” and insisted on starting him for 10-12 games in a row while the season was circling the drain. He couldn’t get Valdespin on the field, while he gave Andres Torres more than 250 PA’s against RHP — to the tune of a .195 BA and a .605 OPS. And all his incoherent flip-flopping on Dickey, how he wanted to pitch him on short rest, then he didn’t, then he did, then he didn’t; it was all so stupid! He may not have had a lot to work with in the pen, but TC sure never figured anything out. Remember when he was suddenly, “Eureeka, Batista is my 8th-inning guy!” I think extending Collins now would be goofy and wasteful. The only argument is the old saw about “the lame duck” manager, and I’m not buying. Collins is a stopgap guy with admirable loyalty. He will run into thorn bushes to fetch that duck!
Contract or not, he’ll work hard. This is a young team, everybody barely hanging on, they aren’t going to revolt. TC will manage just fine without an extension. One more year, let’s see what we’ve got, and my bet is we’ll want to move on. I actually think TC’s best role was his previous job, as Mets minor league field coordinator.
Let’s face it, the best managers are the ones with the best players. Collins has had two brutal rosters to work with and yet for the most part he has gotten effort and the most out of those rosters. I looked at last years roster, held my nose and penciled the team in for 68 wins. The team out-performed that. As you mention, he works hard. I like that.
I also like the loyalty and discretion you mock. We’re not stupid, in private moments Terry Collins is telling his friends, “I can’t believe these bastards I work for won’t just release Jason Bay.” Expecting him to say it in a press conferences is a little much. He wants to keep his job, I get that and filter his comments appropriately. Fans always want managers who go all Billy Martin and say whatever the hell they please. Well, that mostly got Billy Martin fired. In real life who gives press conferences and contradicts their bosses? I know I don’t, I need to get paid.
Now as to his moves, hey I was at the game where Dickey was brought in for the ninth when we were losing! And that was nutty. But with Bay you are grasping at straws. Blaming Terry Collins for Bay? Ha. Collins has the worst hitting left fielder in team history, knows if he doesn’t play him he gets to go to the woodshed with Jeff, and it’s his fault Bay can’t play anymore? And sadly what options did he have anyway, if as you suggest he bench him. Alderson/Wilpon refused to make even the most minor of deals for a replacement. Collins looked around the room, sighed and sent Bay out there.
I understand the frustration of fans and how that can get directed at Collins. I consider that misdirected and misguided and fear that line of thinking. Collins is not the issue, the roster is the issue. Firing Collins would be nothing more than an attempt to appease unsophisticated fans and obfuscate the true problem — the team is no good. It’s scapegoat management 101. As you say, Terry has been loyal, and I believe he has been effective. Giving him a shot to manage the team through 2014 rewards his loyalty,and provides continuity. It also keeps the focus right where I want it, on Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon, and Sandy Alderson.
I never said we should fire Terry Collins. I simply don’t see the need for an extension. This is the team that tanked for the umptillienth season in a row; even the Wall Street Journal called it “The Worst Second Half of All Time.”
No team that was more than five games above .500 before the break (the Mets were 46-40) had a second-half record worse than the Mets’ 13-29—a .310 winning percentage.
However: points taken. I didn’t mean to mock Terry, but he’s got that “Gee willikers!” quality that grates over time. Ultimately, I don’t think he’s the man for the job. Even so, I contend that I’m not your everyday crackpot blaming it all on the manager. I realize the limitations, the crappy roster, the awful ownership, and know where the blame should be. This is about Fred, everybody knows it. (Of course, it’s fun to blame Jeff, too.) But my feeling is that after three years in Collinsville RFD . . .
. . . we’ll want to move on.