Like Him or Not, Terry Collins Has Found Redemption with the Mets

Mike:

You see it all the time. A good guy gets stuck managing a bad team, until eventually he becomes considered a bad manager. I don’t think we are on the same page here, Jimmy, but this is how I feel about Terry Collins.

Jimmy:

terry-collins1I don’t hate Collins, but the guy is a placeholder until the team gets serious about winning. For sure, his crazy comments and cockeyed optimism will sometimes drive me batty, but I can ignore most of it. I don’t think he’s such a bad manager — with these Mets, how can anybody tell? — but he says such nutty things all the time. Did you hear him raving about Marlon Byrd the other day? You’d think we just signed Roy Hobbes. Collins strikes me as the ultimate Company Man, glad to wear the uniform, desperately eager to please his owners.

Mike:

Bellatrix Geus

Bellatrix Geus

You once compared him to a dog. I love my dog.

Jimmy:

I said he’s enthusiastic like a puppy, and faithful as a lab. Collins was perfect for his old job as a minor league coordinator. I hope he returns to it, soon.

Mike:

Hey, I do think if you analyze transcripts from Collins that he will come off at times like that guy on the park bench yelling, “THE GOVERNMENT!!!” for no real reason. But I find that both entertaining and harmless. Some great managers had the same public persona, Tommy Lasorda and Sparky Anderson jump to mind.

Jimmy:

Casey Stengel was the archetype, baseball’s nutty professor. But he won, and so did Lasorda, and so did Sparky. It helps you forgive the quirks.

casey_stengel

Mike:

I just don’t know what has gone on, other than things Collins says, to make me be down on the guy. I think he works hard, and is extremely organized. He is known as an excellent teacher of fundamentals. During games he doesn’t have me jumping out of my seat much, upset with his moves. I will preface that last part though with the fact that I feel in-game managing is highly overrated and over analyzed. I don’t get into that much.

Jimmy:

The problem with any criticism of Collins is you always get the same reply: “The team sucks, it’s not his fault!” So, okay, nothing is his fault. He’s got the perfect job. The glass is always half full.

Optimist-and-Pessemist

Mike:

I already mentioned that I discount the strategy aspect of the job. That is the most visible part of managing and so it often gets picked apart to death. But I always figure the players are 95% of the game, and getting players to perform at their best is the key element of managing. When we praised Gil last week it is noteworthy that we didn’t remember a double switch or a suicide squeeze. It was “the walk to left field” and the motivating effect it had on that team.

Now I’m not suggesting Terry Collins is anything like Gil Hodges. But I think he can motivate players. At a time when the management of the team was running the guy down, Collins got a fabulous effort from Carlos Beltran. Jose Reyes won a batting title playing for Terry Collins, had the best year of his career. Collins coaxed a fine half of a season out of K-Rod too, allowing Alderson the opportunity to get him out of town. Other than Jason Bay, who has under performed for Terry Collins?

Jimmy:

I’m not out to fire the guy. I just think that after his third consecutive losing season, regardless of circumstances, fair or not, you need to change the tone of the club. Manager is the easiest way to do that. We can agree that Terry Collins is a Company Man, right? In the way that, say, Bud Harrelson was a Company Man. Loyal to the end.

Mike:

Yes, no argument.

Jimmy:

davey johnson metsWell, here’s the thing: take a look at the company! When you think of the Mets under the Wilpons, we’ve had exactly two successful managers: Davey Johnson and Bobby Valentine. Neither of those guys suffered fools lightly. They were about as far from corporate “Yes men” as you could get. They both won, they were both willing to speak truth to power, and they both got shown the door prematurely. I don’t think it’s coincidence.

Mike:

True enough. But with Sandy Alderson and Fred Wilpon involved together, I don’t see any maverick hirings on the horizon. I’ll end on this note and give you the last word. Collins has not been extended beyond 2013. If this team plays .500 or better he deserves to be back. Period.

Jimmy:

That’s fair. He’s clearly not “the problem” with this organization. Terry just has a rah-rah tendency to put lipstick on a pig and I find it, at times, disingenuous. I smell something rank, and he keeps insisting that it’s a rose. Maybe that’s his job.

lipstick-on-pig

One last thing (promise). I used to think that this was absolutely his last stop as a manager. But after what he’s done here, I think he could get hired somewhere else if he wants it. That’s a huge accomplishment, and I give him credit. Terry Collins has redeemed his reputation as a baseball man — and that’s all he’s ever wanted to be.

 

 

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7 comments

  1. Don P says:

    I’m firmly in the keep Terry Collins camp. It’s not just that he’s stuck with an impossible job. He’s a capable manager. He’s a huge improvement over Art Howe, Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel. Besides, what are your options? Who would take this job and work for these owners? We should be more worried that he will leave us rather than suggesting he should get the axe.

  2. Frank says:

    Jim, you mentioned Casey. If Terry Collins had the Yankees of the 1950′s to manage, I am sure he would be considered one of the best managers to ever be in the game. You or I could have amanged that team and won. Remember… with a crappy team (i.e. ’62 Mets) Casey holds the record for the worst record in baseball. I think that Collins at least deserves a chance with a team that has possibilities to prove himself. Being a company man… well, with the current ownership, I don’t see any other option for Terry or Sandy Alderson for that matter. I think if Gil, Davey or Casey for that matter were dealt this team, they wouldn’t get much more productivity out of this team than Terry has. Just one displaced fans opinion…

  3. Good points, both of you, well said. I’m not suggesting that Collins gets fired, but I am glad he did not get the extension. Remember, the team won 28 out of its last 76 games in 2012. I know — not his fault! Nothing ever is! But I’d still like to take a wait-and-see approach. After four straight seasons of second-half downturns, what I’d really love to see is for the 2013 season to end on an upswing, a note of promise and optimism. With Wheeler and d’Arnaud on board, that’s a realistic goal. I think we’ve all forgotten what it feels like to close out a season with enthusiasm and genuine hope for the next year — instead of the usual grim depression, stabbing ourselves in the arm with a fork, swilling cheap gin.

  4. DD says:

    I like Collins, mostly because he obviously cares. I will admit, though, that I have on more than one occasion described him as “smarter than he looks.” That wide-eyed look; he’s just not someone whose next shared thought is likely to be some universal truth discovered in contemplation of a Grecian urn.

  5. Eric says:

    His players play hard…. the stars and scrubbs alike. Change the ratio of stars to scrubs and you probably have something.

    You accuse him of Putting Lipstick on a Pig!???…whay do you THEN ask him to make a Silk Purse from the Same Sow’s Ear?

  6. Alan K. says:

    Collins has done a decent job, but I agree with Jimmy-he’s a placeholder. I’d like to see the Mets try to find a young manager who can get the team to the next level and be there for the long haul. I don’t see in-house options like Backman or Teufel as the answer. I think Backman’s act won’t work in a major league setting and Teufel doesn’t exactly light up the room. I’d love to see the Mets bring in a young manager like Joe McEwing or Brad Ausmus.

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