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Some thoughts on the Mets’ hiring of Terry Collins

Nov 22, 2010, 8:25 AM EDT

Terry Collins

I’m not sure what to make of the Terry Collins choice just yet.  Obviously I didn’t think Wally Backman was the right choice, but I didn’t have a preference for any specific candidate per se. While Mets fans don’t want to hear it, my thinking is that the team is likely to be in the competitive wilderness for a while, and that the best way to use the next couple of years would be to cleanse all of the dysfunction from the organization. The guy I’d pick would be whoever I thought could bring stable professionalism to the table while the Sandy Alderson regime is putting its stamp on things.  Of the finalists I’m guessing that Bob Melvin was the guy who fit that profile the best but, no, I’m not under any illusions that Bob Melvin was a guy anyone was crying out for. The other candidates were like spicy Thai food: some people loved ’em, some people didn’t. Melvin was pot roast. No one really hated him, but he didn’t inspire any excitement at all.

Can Terry Collins be the guy who steadies the ship while its being overhauled?  Possibly.  We’re a day or two away from someone going out and getting an injunction against people using the word “intense” to describe Collins — and things ended poorly for him in Anaheim partially, it’s said, because of that intensity — but you have to acknowledge that there is more to his resume than mere intensity. You couldn’t come up through the ranks of the Dodgers organization of the early-to-mid 80s if you were merely an intimidator, because that organization was still known for skads of young talent and professionalism back then.  Likewise with the late 80s Pirates, who were producing lots of talent at the time. Mets fans who worry about the Alderson-led Athletics’-brand of boring managers should take note that, at one time, Collins was thought of as the anti-Art Howe, leading to his hiring by the Astros.  He managed in Japan and in China, which suggests that he possesses a discipline admired in Asian baseball but also the ability to function in a hierarchy.

So there’s the drill sergeant rep, sure, but like any good drill sergeant he’s aware that there is brass above him to which he is subordinate.  In this he may very well be the perfect compromise between the Backman backers and the folks who are more interested in having Sandy Alderson’s vision for the organization carried out. He’ll be able to bark when he needs to. He’ll be able to carry out orders from above.  At least that’s the theory.

And if it doesn’t work? The guy only has a two-year contract and, I assume, Wally Backman will get two more years to build his resume in the Mets’ system, so we may be back here again fairly soon.

  1. Jonny 5 - Nov 22, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    I figured that barring some extraordinary revival of the Mets in the next 2 seasons, the next Manager for the Mets would be a temporary thing until Alderson can get who he really wants running the team. All the craziness over this selection threw me for a loop since it seemed fairly obvious to me.

  2. kcfanatic - Nov 22, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    Two years to rebuild the team before Torre takes over

  3. thehollar - Nov 22, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    Excite your pot roast, Craig.

  4. sdelmonte - Nov 22, 2010 at 9:24 AM

    I really like my mother’s pot roast.

    I don’t have many strong feelings about this hiring. The story right now is what will the new Alderson brain trust do short term and long term. Only once a lineup is in place will Collins be of much importance to me. And really, the only questions I have about him are: how will he handle the bullpen, older players and the media. No way I can predict that right now.

  5. BC - Nov 22, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    Well, I puked. But I’m still a Mets fan.
    At least I can take solace that Collins will put a size 9 where the sun don’t shine if someone isn’t giving their best.

  6. BC - Nov 22, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    BTW…. This is the best pot roast recipe ever. Give it a shot, folks, you won’t be disappointed. Only thing I’d strongly suggest is to use round instead of sirloin – keeps the meat from drying out.

  7. chrisny3 - Nov 22, 2010 at 7:30 PM

    “He managed in Japan and in China, which suggests that he possesses a discipline admired in Asian baseball but also the ability to function in a hierarchy.”

    Uh, maybe you don’t know but Collins quit about halfway through a 3-year commitment to manage the Orix team in Japan. He had a losing record then, and this fit in with his pattern of being a quitter with the Angels. He might be able to function in a hierarchy, but he certainly couldn’t hack it in Japan for whatever reasons (and he hasn’t been willing to discuss those reasons publicly up to now).

    Like BC, I puked when I found out Collins was picked. He was last on my list and I see no redeeming value to him. Whether or not the Mets will be in a “competitive wilderness” the next few years or not is irrelevant. It’s the GM’s job to cleanse the roster of any poorly functioning parts; Collins can’t do that. In the meantime, what value is there to a manager who acts like a little general and pisses off half his players? You might as well get the most out of your team in any given year no matter what the talent level, and pissing off half the team is an odd way to achieve that.

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