(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
I’m the first one to admit when I’m wrong.
And if you have been a reader of this space for the past few years, you know that I was never the biggest fan of Terry Collins, calling for his ouster on a number of occasions.
But if you live long enough, you eventually get proven wrong and Collins has proved me wrong. Tonight’s 9-3 loss to the Marlins notwithstanding, he is the right man for the job.
For a while, it looked like Collins was going to go the Buck Showalter route and be the caretaker of the throne until another manager came in when the Mets were ready to make a run. Much like the Watchers on The Wall in Game of Thrones, he was the one to bear the cold and protect the kingdom, while someone else will take the glory.
That situation has changed, though. Collins has proven to be a capable manager for this team and frankly, one of reasons why they are in this position to win their first Division title in nine years.
Now Collins won’t remind anyone of John McGraw out there. He’s not the greatest in-game manager in the world and his treatment of some of bullpen arms can almost be considered abuse.
He doesn’t have the charisma of say a Bobby Valentine, respect and universal love of Gil Hodges, the chip on the shoulder attitude of Davey Johnson, or the star power of either Casey Stengel or Yogi Berra.
But his players love him and he had kept them playing hard no matter what the standings looked like. Even when they were playing out the season, the past few years, Collins had the guys playing hard and unlike the end of Jerry Manuel’s regime, no whispers in the clubhouse about him.
And he deals with the media very well. Addressing most of the press by first name, he is honest to a fault and willing to take the bullet for the actions of the team’s front office.
In a few weeks, Collins will get rewarded by going to the playoffs. In October, he will be managing against fellow skippers with better pedigrees. He doesn’t have the postseason experience of Mike Matheny, the Joe Torre teachings of Don Mattingly, or the World Series runs of Clint Hurdle or Joe Maddon.
However, as we learned last year with Ned Yost, you don’t have to be perfect in the playoffs as a manager, as long as your talented team plays for you. Yost made Collins look like McGraw out there last October with some of his blunders, but the Royals went to Game 7 of the World Series.
After this season is over, Collins will be a free agent. As managers go, he’s underpaid and deserves a raise from his about $1 million per year salary. He doesn’t want to go anywhere and as a company man, Sandy Alderson will want him back anyway. At 66, look for Collins to get a three year deal with the Mets and ride off into the sunset after it’s done.
He deserves it.
I never thought I would write those words.