(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
The presence of the New York Mets in the 2015 World Series was a surprise to many baseball observers. Every player on the team with the exception of Juan Uribe, who played with the world champion White Sox and the world champion Giants in 2010, has never participated in a World Series. As veteran infielder Kelly Johnson stated in an interview at Citi Field on Friday afternoon, “This is why we play.”
The oldest of those wearing a Mets uniform, manager Terry Collins, is as excited to be in a World Series as anyone on the team. Surrounded by reporters on the field at Friday’s practice, Collins remarked, “Forty-five years [in professional baseball] and this is my first chance to do this. There’s been a lot of great players and a lot of great managers who’ve never been there. I’m going to enjoy this. This is the ultimate place to play. I can’t compare it to anything. It’s a dream come true. It’s the culmination of all you ever do. I could walk away after this.”
The 66 year old has been in professional baseball since graduating Eastern Michigan University in 1971. He was drafted as a shortstop by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 19th round of the Free Agent Draft one month after his graduation.
After playing in the minors for approximately a decade, Collins began his later career of coaching and managing. The baseball lifer managed in the minors for 11 years before moving to various other roles in baseball, major league coach, advance scout, Minor League Field Coordinator and Director of Player Development.
In the 1990’s, he managed in the majors, three years with the Astros and three years with the Angels. His teams finished second in each season except his final one with the angels, when they finished fourth.
Collins also had interesting international experience as manager of the Orix Buffaloes in Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan in 2007-8 and of Team China in the World Baseball classic (WBC) in 2009.
In the winter of 2010, Collins signed a contract to manage the Mets. With the support of the front office in acquiring players that were sorely needed to achieve success and the development of superior young pitchers, the Mets have reached the top.
The surprising quick demise of the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS has given the Mets some extra days of rest. Some believe it is preferable for a team to play when they are on a hot streak while others believe the players could use some rest before the Series begins. Collins sides with the latter view, “We got a lot of guys beat up. The extra rest is going to help us more than hurt us. There’s nothing bad about it.”
After discussing the contributions of many individual players, Collins summed up his belief in his team, “I love our chances. The energy on our club is unbelievable. These guys are good. I have a lot of confidence.”