Collins isn't the sexy choice, but he's the right one for the Mets
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
If you had polled New York Mets fans at the end of the 2010 season on who their manager would be entering the 2011 campaign, how many names would have gone by before someone mentioned Terry Collins?
In fact it is a safe bet that none of them would have named him. And why would they have? Collins hasn't managed in the big leagues since 1999 and the last I heard of him he was skippering the Chinese team at the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
I guarantee nobody in Flushing gave Collins a thought.
Collins' name, though, was brought up almost immediately upon Sandy Alderson being named the team's general manager. He had served as the Mets' Minor League Field Coordinator last season, overseeing all on-field aspects of the team's Minor League Spring Training, mini-camps and the Fall Instructional League.
He makes all the sense in the world for a Mets team that desperately needed a new identity. For the Mets fans who wanted Wally Backman, Collins is Wally Backman, only he does not come with the baggage, and he has some major league experience on his resume.
Collins will hold his players accountable, something for whatever reason has been missing from this organization for a while now. I wasn't as down on the job Jerry Manuel did as some people, but he often gave off the impression that was already defeated. He was like wallpaper, he never showed any emotion. At the end it felt as if he was counting the days until it was over.
Terry Collins had served as the Mets' Minor League Field Coordinator last season.
Well if you want fiery, you got it in Collins. Like I said he is Backman without the 1986 ring. By the way that is the only reason Mets fans want him. Sure he did a good job with the Single-A Brooklyn Cyclones this year, but there is a reason he is not on anyone else's radar.
Bottom line was the Mets could not afford to be wrong with this one. Backman may very well be a great major league manager one day. But he is a wild card at best. When Willie Randolph was fired in 2008, I wrote then that they should have went to Backman.
Backman would have been the right move then, but now they can't take that kind of chance now.
Citi Field is on its way to becoming a ghost town. I doubt that Backman being in the dugout sells any more tickets. Maybe a few here and there, but ultimately it is what happens on the field that is going to pack the house.
Now you can also make the argument that Collins is a wild card too. I mean he hasn't managed in the majors in 11 years. Collins is a safe choice, not as safe as Bob Melvin would have been, but at least it is a bit of an out of the box approach.
Collins is a taskmaster and he is going to change the culture of that organization. If you have watched the Mets over the last couple of seasons, the one thing that jumped out at you is the lack of fundamentals. Collins will take them to school right from the start.
The thing that would bother me is the fact that I have heard from someone with knowledge of the situation that Alderson actually preferred Backman, while it was Paul DePodesta who favored Collins. And Jeff Wilpon for whatever reason went the Collins route instead of his new GM's choice.
I love the Mets front office with Alderson, DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi. A better group of baseball minds you will not find. I just hope that there aren't too many cooks in the kitchen. Alderson's voice needs to be the loudest, as they embark on their most important offseason in some time.
The bigger question is how Collins will accepted in that locker room. In his last big league stint with Anaheim he wore out his welcome pretty quickly, almost creating a mutiny upon leaving. I am not sure how tight a ship Manuel ran, but I guarantee Collins won't stand for some of the stuff that has gone on with the Mets over the last few seasons.
Collins' demeanor could very well go over like a lead balloon in Flushing. But he is exactly what that team needs right now.