So far from what I’ve observed, I come away very impressed with Terry Collins who has conducted himself as a true professional and savvy baseball man. The way Collins handled the Carlos Beltran situation the past Spring was flawless and poetry in motion. He has an aggressive, but calm demeanor about him and has a professional way of doing business.
Last week, I saw Collins way of handling things again – during a game when R.A. Dickey gestured to Terry to come and join him in the clubhouse so they could talk for a brief minute. No, I have no idea what was said, but I can guess. It was an early inning and RA had been having some problems with his hand and was unable to locate some pitches, but – noting that the inning was early – he told Terry he would hold off the opposing team for as long as he could. And, he did until the sixth inning. It says a lot to see a player take a manager aside like that – usually it’s the other way around. It was a sure sign of respect.
When Terry first arrived he said that he would choose the team carefully and would expect that all would be ready to play at any time during the game. It was his policy to give everyone a chance to participate in the game if only for a short time. It has worked out beautifully. This group operates like a team now and I haven’t seen that in Flushing for a long, long time. Many teams are made up of so called super stars who are just trying to increase their stats and pad their wallets.
There are a lot of managers who rarely even speak to their players, choosing to have a coach intercede or give a message. We’ve all seen that before in the last 4-5 years.
Now back to Terry and Carlos who have met every day for weeks simply to talk with each other about the upcoming game. I could see from the start that Terry was a straightforward man and always wanted to keep his guys in on the current game and then tomorrow’s game as well. Carlos had always seemed too shy to speak up to his superiors until now, and that was proved the other day when he walked past Terry and gave him a big smile and two thumbs up.
I’m sure that if I were able to interview every member of this team, each would have something special to say about Terry. The Mets have never had a manager like this, but his time has come and I hope he sticks around. Both he and Sandy have ingratiated themselves with the players and the whole organization. These are real baseball men, and I’m glad they are ours.