Andy Martino of the New York Daily News wrote a column endorsing the Mets decision to resign Terry Collins to a two-year deal in a column he wrote in today’s edition. His piece doesn’t spend much time addressing the Mets won/loss record. I assume, like many, that he doubts that with the Mets’ rosters Terry Collins has inherited over his three years as Mets skipper, few other baseball managers could have squeezed out an appreciably higher winning percentage.
So in evaluating Collins, Martino focused on other factors. “The way a manager succeeds or fails in this era is in his ability to motivate stars, manage egos, and run the clubhouse,” he postures.
Before he started with the Mets, Collins devised a strategy of building strong relationships with his veteran players and almost deputizing those players to help police the clubhouse. During difficult times, that Collins strategy has worked.
For the most part, veteran players who leave the Mets leave with fond appreciation and genuine respect for Collins. Martino says that Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran are two of the vets who continue to communicate with Collins. In fact, during one particularly tough stretch for the Mets this spring, Beltran was in contact with the Mets’ skipper assuring TC that he was the man for the job.
Martino also writes that over his time in New York, Collins has kept the lid on the Met clubhouse. This year only two Mets were malcontents, Jordany Valdespin and Frank Francisco. Neither had good standing with most of their teammates and both got almost no traction. In fact, when Valdespin went postal on Collins after the Met manager informed him he was being sent to the minors, a Mets players lined up to fight to protect their leader.
Whether you like him or hate him, you have to admit, we were all wrong believing that Terry was an ‘eruption waiting for ignition’ when he was hired three years ago. I’m in Terry’s age decade, and I can appreciate how difficult it can be to change your ways. It is most unusual for old leopards our age to change our spots. That is not the case for Terry Collins.
Win or lose, I marvel at the way Collins has kept his cool and kept his eye on the ball… He continues to keep looking forward without making excuses, no matter what hand (or roster) he’s been dealt. That’s an admirable quality anyway you look at it.