When the Mets hired Terry Collins to be their manager, there was no warm reception for him from the fan base. In fact most of us questioned the decision and would have wanted anyone, but him. He was the guy that quit in the middle of his contract during his last managing stint, soon after he alienated his players and presided over a divisive clubhouse. That was then and this is now.
Terry Collins has repeatedly said that his checkered past as a manager taught him a valuable lesson and that he would prove as manager of the Mets that he has learned much from his past experiences.
This whole Beltran and Pagan thing would be his first major test. One misstep and the team could have been thrust into chaos, but instead it was a seamless transition that left the team with good feelings all around. It was poetry in motion.
“As a manager, when you’re going to face a situation where you’re thinking about a position change with a star player, you’re hoping and you’re praying that it goes like this,” Collins said. “You’re hoping your star walks in and tells you, ‘Hey, look, this is what’s best for this team at this particular moment. You’ll have no problem with me. Now let’s get ready to play.’ That’s what you’re hoping for. But you’ve got to be ready for them to say, ‘No, I’m a center fielder here.’
Thanks to Collins, one of the big questions going into camp has already been decided. Pagan will patrol center field, and Beltran will take over in right. Everyone gets what they wanted and their were no bruised egos in the process.
“I was prepared to give him his seven to 10 days,” Collins said. “Actually, I thought for sure he was going to want to try to probably play a couple of games in center field before he made the decision. But when he came in this morning he said, ‘Look, it just doesn’t make any sense. We need to move forward. You’ve got to get Angel [Pagan] ready. I’ve got to get ready.’
“It’s got to send a huge message in that clubhouse that it’s about the team — a huge message coming from this guy. This guy is an All-Star, and until he probably hurt his knee one of the absolute best center fielders in the game.”
You passed your first big test as manager of the Mets Terry, welcome to the fold.