It’s been six plus years for Terry Collins since he became the manager for the New York Mets. On Saturday (barring any postponed games) he will be the longest tenured skipper in Mets history, with 1,013 games managed.
It’s really a remarkable feat when you think about where he started with the Mets in 2011. Met fans, get nostalgic with me for just a second. There was no more Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez or Billy Wagner. What we did have was David Wright, Jose Reyes, an underwhelming Jason Bay, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese and Jason Isringhausen closing games.
In a recent interview with the New York Times Terry Collins admitted that he wasn’t sure how long he was going to be around in New York, stating the following:
“People were telling me, ‘You’re only gonna be here until they get to be good, and they’ll get somebody else.’”
Some say they’re surprised that he’s still managing the Mets, and that he’s to blame for this team not living up to their potential. To those people I’ll say this: that’s hogwash. Those people don’t understand what a manager has to deal with day in and day out. Any man in Terry’s position has to manage players as individuals, and make sure you keep the collective group motivated.
Looking back on his tenure, Terry had to deal with an organization that was clearly in rebuilding mode and scratching out win totals of 77, 74, 74, and 79 from 2011-2014. Those teams honestly should have been much worse than those win totals. I believe Terry Collins was able to get the most out of his players. They always played hard for him, something you definitely couldn’t say about Jerry Manuel’s time with the team.
Recent years have been much kinder to Terry Collins. During the 2015 season the Mets were finally ready to contend. When management realized the team was close they added reinforcement’s to Terry’s squad to get them to the World Series.
In 2016, the team seemed poised to make a Kansas City Royals-like run and make back-to-back World Series appearances. The young starting pitchers came into the season healthy, Yoenis Cespedes was back and Neil Walker had been brought in to replace what was sure to be a fluke in Daniel Murphy.
Unfortunately, Murphy’s offensive outburst was not a fluke, and the young starters struggled to stay healthy. Nevertheless, the Mets found themselves in back-to-back postseason’s for only the second time in their history, only to lose to the San Francisco Giants in the Wild Card Round, at home.
Despite just about all of the young flamethrowers coming off some sort of injury, the Amazin’s hopes and confidence were sky high for 2017. Cespedes re-signed to a four-year deal, and the position players who were injured last season were coming back into the fold healthy.
And then the season started…
The injuries started piling up. If there were three guys on the roster that were crucial to the team’s success, they were Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes and Juerys Familia. Wouldn’t ya know it, they lost them all. Familia and Thor are out until sometime after the All-Star break and Cespedes has a pesky hamstring injury.
I made this point on The Jake Brown Show on the CBS Play.it Podcast the other day: No matter what the situation, players have always competed and played hard for Terry Collins. There has not been a time when he’s lost the clubhouse.
One thing that people who haven’t been involved directly with a baseball organization don’t understand is that being in charge is a lot about managing the personalities of players. You also have to factor in minor things a player may be dealing with behind the scenes that the team keeps in house.
Terry Collins has so much love and respect for his players, yet has the stones to speak out when things need to be said and players need to be challenged.
The manager can only put players in the best possible position to be successful. I’ll admit Collins has made his fair share of questionable moves, but what manager hasn’t? Again, we have no idea what a manager has to deal with every day in the dark depth’s of a clubhouse. Let’s give Terry his due, just like you would want someone to give you your’s. After all, we’re only human.