Terry Collins will be managing his 1,013th for the Mets tonight and once the game concludes he will become the longest tenured manager in team history. When he landed the job here, very few thought we would be saying that today. I recall the first day I had a one on one conversation with him in Port St Lucie as he was preparing for his first season at the helm and I was impressed with his honesty and candor about both his past and the team.
I feel very fortunate to have been around Terry during his career here in Flushing. I am a better person because of the things I have seen him do as this team has experienced both the great times as a pennant winner and the not so great times—like the recent stretch where injuries combined with poor play have drawn the ire of Mets Twitter. You can make the argument that Terry Collins is the best manager in the game in terms of how he communicates with his players and it was not always that way. He left managerial positions in the past where people say he lost the clubhouse but has clearly shown no matter how entrenched we are in our ways, we all have the power to change.
He has blown apart the insane notion that you manage all players the same. Some need discipline-others need a pat on the back. Some need a bit of both. But most importantly, Terry never uses outside forces (like the media) to do the communicating for him. Former players like Daniel Murphy, Johanna Santana, and Bartolo Colon have all expressed their genuine love for Collins after they left the team.
As many of you know, in addition to serving as a reporter, I have managed many Ad Sales groups in the industry and I’ve learned so much from being around Terry Collins. Your people don’t work for you—in many ways you work for them. You provide them with all the resources and you NEVER turn your back on them when things start getting a little tough. Communication is as much about listening as it is about speaking. When employees do not perform and I have needed to make a move, I always feel like somehow I did not reach them and try to learn how to better manage people in the future. I learned that from watching Terry Collins.
Baseball is a tough sport to play even though it may look real easy on TV and to the media analysts who think they have all the answers. This Met team, under Terry Collins, has always been very good at shutting out all of that outside noise. He has also created an atmosphere where players competing against each other for playing time ALWAYS support each other. People like David Wright, Michael Cuddyer and Curtis Granderson have played a huge role but Terry Collins sets the tone. Does he make in-game mistakes? Sure, he does but here’s a newsflash—so does every big league manager.
I have heard people say it is ironic that Terry Collins celebrates this milestone when Mets are struggling and I totally disagree. It is appropriate because Terry Collins does great work when this team is struggling as evidenced by the last two seasons. He ALWAYS shows the power to change even in the most trying of circumstances. It is also why I firmly believe he will do something no Met manager has ever done by season’s end—lead his team to a third straight playoff appearance.
I know most disagree with me but I have gotten used to that and merely look away. I learned that from watching Terry Collins manage well over 1,000 games. I also learned we all the power to change every single day.