McDonald: The Mets Never Make It Easy For Collins In His Mangerial Adventure

It’s fitting that Terry Collins’s 1,013th game managed – breaking Davey Johnson’s team record – would mirror his tenure as skipper of the club.

It just wasn’t easy.

The Mets 7-5 win over the Angels looked like a laugher at 7-2, going into the top of the ninth inning, but newly signed Neil Ramirez showed why he was released by two clubs this season, by loading the bases and Addison Reed had to come in with a tough situation.

Sure, the Angels got three runs back that inning, but at the end of the day, Collins could smile.

“Seven years of watching games like that, I guess it needed to be exciting and it was,” Collins said and joked he told NY Post columnist Steve Serby today he felt like 50, but now after this game, he feels all his 67 years.

Collins, though, wasn’t supposed to last this long as Mets manager. When Sandy Alderson hired him in November 2010, he was supposed to be a temporary fill-in. The Wilpons were reeling from the Bernard Madoff scandal and Alderson was hired to put the Mets on track. Collins was experienced enough to give the Mets some credibility, but his days as a successful major league manager were long behind him. He was a relic of the 20th century.

But something happened on the road to oblivion. Collins matured as manager. He was no longer the hothead, who alienated his clubhouse in Anaheim. Instead he was that positive uncle, who was able to speak to Millennial players and keep them playing hard no matter what the circumstances.

In this era of analytical approaches to the game, Collins was still old-school enough to played hunches. When something went wrong, he took the blame. He shielded his players from the press, but was honest in his assessments, which is something that doesn’t always happen from the managerial desk.

However, when his players are dead wrong but he was never afraid to doll out discipline.  Two weeks ago, when Matt Harvey took Saturday off, it was Collins who demanded the starting pitcher be suspended for violating team rules. But it was done in a way, where Harvey took the blame and seemed pretty sorry about the incident.

It was that refreshing approach, which has kept him in a Mets uniform all this time. Collins has support from his clubhouse and even support in the media. His honest, wear his heard on his sleeve, demeanor makes him tough to hate.

But he hasn’t been perfect and there is a sector of the fan base, which would like to see Collins move on to the retirement home starting tomorrow. That’s because he’s not going to be like John McGraw, Leo Durocher, Billy Martin, or Bobby Valentine out there. He’s not going to move the needle inside the game. If you ask those fans, they will point out his in-game mistakes and blame Collins for all that is wrong with the Mets.

Big deal.

Because those are the same fans who clamored to see Joe Maddon to come to the club after the 2014 season, only to see Collins out-manage his old bench coach in the National League Championship Series  around 10 months later.

No, Collins is Collins and you take the bad with the good. Last season, I wrote a few columns pushing to see the manager get replaced when the Mets were reeling in August. That was because it looked like Collins may have lost the clubhouse. And even if it started to be that way, he was able to get his command back and save his job.

To a man, no one in the Mets clubhouse has anything bad to say about Terry Collins.

That may be his biggest asset, as Collins likable nature makes it tough to hate the man. A player like Yoenis Cespedes, who was thought to be unmanageable, swears by Collins, while a big ego like Harvey took his discipline with little complaint or appeal.  

You don’t know if Collins will hang it up after this season. At 67, he knows his definitely not long for this game and may yield to a younger manager. However, if he does stick around for another season, Collins very well can break Davey Johnson’s 595 career wins. He is 97 wins away from that mark. Sometime later this season, he will move past Bobby Valentine for second place when he wins his 537th career win.

Collins, though, isn’t thinking about that. Instead, he’s hoping his club gets a well needed sweep tomorrow against the Angels and the man who replaced him in Anaheim, Mike Scoscia.

That’s how Collins played in it 2011. That’s how it’s was played during the 2015 run to the World Series. And he’s not going to change now.

Even if his team doesn’t always make it easy for him.


About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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