Terry Collins is a leader, and just what the Mets need

Terry CollinsIf there is one last intangible in the game of baseball, it is the role of the manager. I’m sure contribution can be totaled by calculating the odds of one move versus another in some endless algorithm. Many of us over the years have played an armchair analyst or Monday morning quarterback regarding Terry Collins specifically. He has given us much fodder with which to feast. His repeated treatment of lefties in the bullpen has been well documented on this site time and again. His mannerism leave the impression of a bumbler when it comes to the media. And his in-game strategies have never been viewed as dynamic, or innovative. Instead Collins fills a role that most managers can’t, and that’s being a good leader.

Leading often means getting out of the way, and simply getting the best out of people. Chances are there is someone in your life, perhaps at work, that is always looking to butt in or give advice. A manager can often get that way. The Mets only have to look across town to see an example of a manager, in Billy Martin, who was a genius on the field but a source of aggravation in the clubhouse. Nobody is looking to punch Collins in the face, because everyone is happy.

Of course their happy, you say, they’re winning. But it wasn’t always so. The Mets 2015 has been repeatedly referred to as a roller-coaster year, and that’s pretty accurate. There were early winning streaks and first place claims. Then came terrible slumps and injuries galore. A rejuvenated roster helped the core players get healthy and reach higher potential. And now the Mets are four wins away from being declared the best team in baseball. They’ve beaten the two best pitchers in the game, twice, and swept one of the brightest young offensive teams in the entire game. How did they get from there to here?

Collins does not deserve all the credit. Far from it. There were games he certainly hurt the team more than aided. But whatever on-field general quality he lacks in the dugout, he apparently makes up for in the clubhouse. Repeatedly players have been quoted as saying that early on this season, it was expected they would do well. And they did, for the first few weeks. Yet when winning times gave way to the doldrums and struggles, the team kept saying the same things. ‘Our guys are confident’, and ‘we know we can win’. Sure, it’s baseball platitude nonsense, but it’s also all true.

When teams don’t have a healthy clubhouse, it becomes evident. Diva players, bad communication between staff and players, and straight up people not liking each other have brought teams down before. Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper ring bells for anyone? It’s easy to judge when a team folds at the end of the year. But where was the leadership earlier that year to quell the need for such outburst? Matt Williams probably wasn’t all to blame, just as Collins isn’t all to praise. But that secret ingredient must be appreciated for it’s value to the team.

Of course Collins didn’t do it all himself. David Wright, Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon, and Michael Cuddyer are all positive veteran clubhouse presences. Scandals don’t follow them around, and usually they only make news outside of baseball for their charity work. While guys like Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy have always come across as humble and workmanlike. The sole distraction when it came to this team was one Matt Harvey. And even that was more related to play on the field then it was anything off the field. The point is that Collins, and to a great degree Sandy Alderson, have guiding this team with patience. Patience that Alderson thanked Mets fans for enduring after Game 4 in Chicago by stating, “New York has been patient with us, and loyal. Our goal was to play good baseball through the entire regular season. We took some detours along the way. We had some injuries, but the pitching kept us in it through the first half of the season and we were able to add some offense, get some people back and everything came together. I’m glad that they’ve been rewarded.”

Now all our patience has been rewarded. Collins doesn’t need to go out and win games with his actions. He’s done his job by putting this team in a position to get the primetime moments on the field, not in the locker room or nightclubs. He’s no Mickey Goldmill. He’s Terry Collins damnit, and he does his job with a goofy grin.

15 comments for “Terry Collins is a leader, and just what the Mets need

  1. TexasGusCC
    October 27, 2015 at 8:52 am

    I think everyone needs to relax with throwing Collins bouquets. While he hasn’t cost us anything yet, we have seen him for five years. Game 1 he is putting Johnson as the DH due to his numbers against Volquez. Even though he has said you throw out the book in the post season, he continues to go by it. Ok, but why not put Jonson at second to tighten up your defense? And while the clubhouse is harmonious, it’s not like they have any players that rock the boat. He still hasn’t gotten Cespedes to run after a swing and miss.

    By the way, Geren is the leading candidate for LA. Isn’t the guy we were afraid of taking over? Now we may need another coach.

    • TexasGusCC
      October 27, 2015 at 9:05 am

      Oh may I add his attitude: “I’m not here to develop players, I’m here to win games”, or his bullpen usage? Yes he has done well so far in the post season by staying out of the way and playing the guys who deserve to be there, and I am very glad for it, but, he isn’t Miller Huggins yet and If this series goes 7 games every decision will be magnified. Hope he comes out of it wearing champagne.

    • James Preller
      October 27, 2015 at 9:57 am

      Johnson is the right choice to start at DH for Game One.

      And are you really suggesting that now is the time to start messing with Murphy? Are you out of your mind?!

      This is what I keep seeing over and over from the Collins Critics of Ceaseless Complaint. Half of their preferred choices are crazier than anything Collins himself has done. You are literally complaining all the way to the World Series.

      Going into these games, I wonder about a lot of things. I worry about the overall quality of KC, which strikes me as simply an excellent all-around team, brimming with talent, confidence, and determination. I worry about the Mets hitting, about the starting pitchers holding up, the soft underbelly of the bullpen, about team defense, about any number of things. One thing I don’t worry about, at all, is whether Terry Collins is going to win or lose this series.

  2. DED
    October 27, 2015 at 8:54 am

    I like Terry Collins. I stuck with him when he kept running Eric Campbell out there, so I must be biased in his favor. I appreciate his candor, and I appreciate his attention to the game.

    If you want to improve your opinion of Collins, listen to a Ned Yost presser. It will do the trick.

  3. Metsense
    October 27, 2015 at 9:17 am

    The goal is to make the playoffs. TC did one better and won the division. They were three behind going into the July/August series and just blew a doozey against the Padres. TC prepared the team for that series and they swept. The first 31 games of the season were crucial and the Mets needed to play above .500 to not have a lost season by the first week in May. TC prepared the team for this stretch and they did exceed expectations. I am not a fan of his strategies but I have come to realize he does know his team. He runs a solid clubhouse. He accomplished the job he was expected to do so I will not complain when the Mets give him his extension.
    Another fair and even keeled article, Patrick.

  4. Name
    October 27, 2015 at 10:31 am

    I think fans have come to the point where the majority knows that looking at the win loss record of a pitcher is useless (exemplified best by Shelby Miller this year)

    Now I think the next step is to convince fans that doing the same for managers and GMs is also useless.

    Bad managers can have winning records (Collins) and vice versa as well.

  5. Chris F
    October 27, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    In theory, the only purpose of a team is to get to the World Series. I would deem a team successful should it find itself there.

    In the past few months I have really tried to consider my appraisal of the team Ive been watching. Ive been as critical as many here about Collins. However, I have come around some distance. I have heard player after player, ex-player after ex-player, and manager after manager say nothing but incredibly solid things about Collins as a skipper during his Mets tenure. Ive come around in my thinking that there is so much more to things than the Xs and Os while he stands on the top step of the dug out. I believe that the team believes in him. I believe this team will run through a wall for him. I believe that he has fostered a top-shelf clubhouse atmosphere. In short, I think that manager has so many “people skills” components that it is unfair as arm chair managers to pass judgement. Ultimately, what we watch is not in any way similar to a Strat-O-Matic exercise. As a result, I am very much tempering my personal negativity, preferring to accept there is a ton more of information about every aspect of the the game that I am neither privvy to nor understand from my lounge chair.

    We are in the WS. We have a team that is flourishing. We have a team that says nothing but great things about its skipper. And we have a manager that really wants nothing but the best for this team. Im putting my money on that arrangement every time.

  6. James Preller
    October 27, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Off-topic: It’s been 29 years since the 86 Mets won the World Series.

    So here’s my question: Which 2 Mets on the current roster will be broadcasting games on SNY 30 years from now?

    • DED
      October 27, 2015 at 1:52 pm

      Granderson, absolutely. The man is a cliché machine, and he even can make you like it.

      Cuddyer, or Clippard. One of those.

    • October 27, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      I dig this question.

      It seems to me there’s several different aspects to this. It’s got to be a player liked by both fans and management, it’s got to be someone who didn’t make $100 million already and it’s got to be someone who lives baseball. Keith Hernandez seems like an odd choice to transition to the booth after such a successful playing career but the guy played Strat!! Would you have ever guessed that in 1986? That speaks to a love of the game.

      Anthony Recker seems very at home in front of a microphone and didn’t make a ton of money playing the game. He seems like a strong possibility. Granny’s got the personality for it but he’s made an awful lot of money already. Plus, he’s the guy who wanted to watch Saved by the Bell instead of baseball as a kid, so I’m not sure that he’s going to want to broadcast 100 games a year after he’s done playing.

      Wilmer Flores?

      • DED
        October 28, 2015 at 8:34 am

        Saved by the Bell, no crap? Somehow that ties in with a thought I have whenever Granderson bats, with the crouch and that peek-a-boo view of the pitcher: he reminds me of a fringe player for the 1980’s Oakland A’s, Shooty Babbit. All of which is terribly unfair to Granderson who is a good guy and a fine player. But these thoughts arrive unbidden.

        I like Recker, like how he handles himself in front of the microphone, but he would be an even more obscure choice than Eduardo Perez.

        But then, perhaps not more so than Nelson Figuroa. Hell, at ESPN they sometimes hand the conversation over to Rob Dibble, and there was serious debate when he was a player over whether or not he was crazy.

        • October 28, 2015 at 9:18 am

          During the NLCS there was a story that despite growing up in Chicago, Granderson didn’t like the Cubs because he would come home from school all ready to watch Saved by the Bell and the Cubs’ game would be on, instead.

  7. Steevy
    October 27, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Lucas Duda 🙂

  8. Chris F
    October 27, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Given all the air time and details he knows, Murphy, with deGrom as his clown side kick!

  9. Metsense
    November 4, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Sandy Alderson fainted at the news conference announcing Terry Collins two-year extension. When he came to he said “I did what!!!” 🙂

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