Why Is Terry Collins A Front-Runner?

An article by posted on November 7, 2010

David Brody, who I follow on Twitter, was kind enough to send me a link to an interview Brian Costa of the Star-Ledger conducted with Terry Collins last May.

He pointed me to a comment Collins made, in which he says he had no desire to become a major league manager in the future.

Q: Do you still want to be a major-league manager again one day? Is that still a goal?

A: “It isn’t. I did my thing. I had a great time. I was very fortunate to be around good players. When I first got my first major-league managing job, my whole thing was to prove that I belonged there, and I think I did that. So for me, I’m happy doing what I’m doing. I’m working with great people. My job right now is to build this organization up to where our minor leagues are going to produce not only major-league players for the Mets but major-league players throughout baseball. So if Omar needs to make a trade to make them better, we’ve got pieces that can help.”

In my last post I said I didn’t really have a preference among the current group of Mets managerial candidates simply because none of them really excite me. However, I do wonder why Terry Collins is considered to be a front-runner for a position he himself didn’t even want six months ago.

This is even more problematic when I consider the fact that Terry Collins left his last managerial job with the Anaheim Angels under very questionable circumstances. He resigned in mid-season citing stress and duress as the mitigating factors.

According to this tweet by Adam Rubin, the players revolted when word of a possible extension for Terry Collins went public. You can read more about that in the L.A. Times article from 1999 that Rubin cited. That same article gives a chronological list of events that led to Collin’s resignation. Here is some of what happened.

When they began their free-fall out of the division race in July, Darin Erstad called the Angels “soft” and questioned whether winning was the team’s No. 1 priority, Mo Vaughn said the Angels were “lackadaisical,” and Gary DiSarcina ripped his teammates for being “unprofessional.”

Then came the Aug. 31 brawl in Cleveland, which actually drove a deeper wedge between factions in the Angel clubhouse than between the Indians and Angels. After the Angels blew an eight-run, eighth-inning lead, Angel closer Troy Percival hit David Justice with a pitch, Justice charged the mound, and a fight ensued.

But the most devastating blows were delivered after that game, when Percival accused some teammates of not backing him in the brawl, and the next day, when Vaughn, believing he was the target of Percival’s criticism, tore into his teammates with two expletive-laced tirades to reporters.

Several players were so upset that Vaughn didn’t join the brawl–Vaughn, the designated hitter that night, claimed he was in the clubhouse and couldn’t get to the field in time–that they marched into Collins’ office the next afternoon with a “Who’s it gonna be, us or him?” ultimatum.

Collins pulled Vaughn from the lineup, the rest of the regulars started, and two days later, Collins, sick of spending so much energy dousing clubhouse fires, resigned.

Now based on everything you just read, including the comments made by Collins himself in May, how in the world did Terry Collins become the front-runner to be the next manager of the New York Mets?

Does this sound like someone who can hold up under the overwhelming pressure and daily scrutiny of the New York media, game in and game out? Sorry, I don’t think so.

Let me put it to you this way, if Collins does become the manager of the Mets, consider him the iceberg and the Mets the Titanic.

I find it so shocking that out of a hundred or more different managers out there, we’re reducing the field to a couple of guys with so much baggage in Backman and Collins that you couldn’t fit all of it in the cargo hold of a Boeing 747.

Is it any wonder why not one major league team besides the Mets have reached out to interview Backman or Collins despite almost a dozen managerial vacancies? Am I the only Mets fan bothered by that? 

This is what I warned about repeatedly going all the way back to August. The Mets could do infinitely better by simply putting all the non-Mets candidates names into a hat, picking one randomly, and naming him manager without so much as an interview.

Oh woe, is us.

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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