Tag Archive for Terry Collins

Not Half Bad

So here we are at the All-Star Break and I think we’d all agree that getting here with a prayer of contending for the playoffs without Ike Davis, David Wright, Johan Santana, and with Jason Bay having the kind of year he’s having is a kind of small miracle and for that Terry Collins has our gratitude and this team has my admiration. But let’s not kid ourselves: Only a very hot start to the second half is going to make a difference if and when the calvary returns. Sandy Alderson would be a fool not to at least entertain offers for our guys big and small in the meantime and pull the trigger if the returns blow him away. Why not? At any rate, I’m finding it difficult to imagine that the cheap, useful guys (Capuano, Isringhausen, Hairston, Paulino) stick around and I hope we can get out from under the Frankie Rodriguez deal at some point.

In the meantime you haven’t heard a whole lot from me in part because June was an especially light month on the transaction wire for the Mets. How light? Well, according to my roster expert Jason, there were no Met debuts in the month of June at all. Excluding Octobers and the strike-shortened August 1994, it’s only the third month since August of 1993 there have been no Met debuts and the first time since June of 2007 that no new Met arrived.

We are checking in to note the recent return of Nick Evans and salute the poor kid both for his home run the other night and his roachlike ability to remain an option — but never the first one — for the Mets for four straight years now. In each of the last four seasons Evans had at least two separate stints with the team which has got to be approaching a record, thanks in part to twice escaping a claim by other clubs when exposed to waivers this year and subsequently electing to remain with the organization as opposed to trying his luck elsewhere. If he’s not a perfect Met No. 6 nobody is. Cheers, Nick!

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Help Identify the Mystery Met

OK Holmes (Sherlock, that is), time for another Met Mystery, courtesy of the following exerpted note from MBTN reader David:

At a baseball card show last month, a man approached me with an interesting photo that appears to be from a legends game. He asked if I knew anything about it. I was able to identify some of the participants (Earl Weaver, Don Zimmer, Lou Brock, etc) but really want to place the location and date. Since I didn’t have a scanner I took several pictures on my phone. You can see the (larger) picture here.

Crazy as it sounds I think one of the keys to unlocking this mystery is the Met in the lower left.Close up is here. He doesn’t seem tough to identify – older, wearing glasses. His number is partially obstructed but it appears that it would have to be #7. However, no #7 that I find lines up with this man. It isn’t Ed Kranepool and many of the others are easily eliminated based on skin color, hair color, and so on. I simply cannot find a match for this man. I thought maybe it could be a seventy number, like 74 or something, but that number appears too far to the man’s left for there to be another number after it.

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. I know that #11 is Wayne Garrett thanks to your great site.

* * *

As I told David privately, the photo is a little too blurry to identify anything for sure, but with young and old players in home and road uniforms, what looks like a minor-league setting (maybe Florida, note the ads on the fence) some kind of Old-Timers exhibition seems likely. The Mystery Met in the corner bears some resemblance to Mike Cubbage, no, but given the weird jersey sleeve-stripes, it could be anybody. There is one (Stearns?!?) or maybe two more Mets in that shot as well, not to mention some guys dressed in what look to be softball jerseys. Weird pic at any rate. Can you help identify the time, place and players in this shot? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks!

* * *

Ike Davis, who looked like a veteran the day he stepped on the field for the Mets — barely a year ago — is looking like a veteran off the field too, exhibiting all the bushy-tailed bounceback of a 44-year-old, not the 24-year-old he is. News today is that its another three weeks in a boot and plenty of Geritol for Old Ike before we see him again.

The team we have out there today is barely hanging on: It’s a real credit to Terry Collins that they’ve managed to not get killed out there most nights, much less put a few wins together. But it’s not the kind of thing that’s likely to last, and when the team’s only living power hitter misses a couple of months with a bruise, that’s bad.

With Jose Reyes out, Bobby Parnell returned but didn’t pitch well. We just lost to the Pirates.

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Terry Collins vs. History

Hello again from sole possession of 4th place. These banged-up replace-Mets are impressing me with their drive, even while disaster forever lurks nearby.

Longtime MBTN contributor Shorty in New Jerseydelivered the following awesomeness to the mailbox the other day. Check it out.

After his first seven games as the Mets’ manager, TERRY COLLINS’ record was 3 wins and 4 losses to show for it.  That matched exactly the entire Major League managerial career of MIKE CUBBAGE, who managed the Mets for seven games and went 3-4 in 1991.

After eleven games, Collins’ record was 4 wins and 7 losses.  This matched exactly the entire Mets managerial career of SALTY PARKER, who managed the Mets for eleven games and went 4-7 in 1967.  (He entire Major League managerial career record was 5-7 after he went 1-0 as the Astros’ manager in 1972.)

Next on the list would be ROY McMILLAN, who managed the Mets for 53 games in 1975 and had a record of 26-27.  Believe it or not, if the Mets go 5-5 over their next 10 games, Collins will match McMillan’s record exactly!

I don’t know about you, but given the 2011 Mets so far, 5-5 in their next 10 sounds like a pretty good bet, after which Collins will aim for and hopefully miss badly the managerial career of Frank Howard, who in 116 games managing the Mets won only 52 of them. For Terry’s crew to match that record, they’d need to stink up the joint to a record of 31-42 over their next 73.

I can’t think of a better way to prevent .425 baseball this summer than to see R.A. Dickey turn things around, and soon. Whether it’s his book deal and erudite interviews, his control of the knuckler, or what, he’s got to be better than the guy he’s pitching against for these Mets to win his games — the offense just isn’t there to take back all the leads than he’s surrendered. Tonight’s game at MFY Stadium is a big moment then for all of us, so Let’s Go Mets.

Meantime, I got another message from a reader named Josh, who’s looking for information on uni numbers for the Tidewater Tides, particularly in the Todd Hundley Era (early 1990s). If you can help Josh, feel free to write him at swishagency (at) gmail (dot) (com). Thanks in advance for the help!

I swiped the accompanying image from Mets Gazette, I think it lends an appropriate gravity to all that’s going on these days.

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Put it in this Book

Sorry about the infrequent updates. Became convinced my enthusiasm at the tail end of the winning streak killed it and was scared to further mess it up. Now it seems hardly to matter. Tuesday’s gutwrenching loss almost assured a humiliation on Wednesday and the loss to injury of Pedro Beato didn’t help. The Mets real trouble however is the offense, with too little coming from the end of the lineup and less than that from the bench so far. It sure hasn’t helped that Jason Bay’s missed more time than we could afford to lose already (and it’s still early). His latest absence for paternity leave forced the recall of Lucas Duda, in whom Terry Collins (and Lucas Duda for that matter) has no faith.
50Taking Beato’s place is lefty Mike O’Connor. I tried to look up some information on him and came across the image accompanying this post which seemed only too appropriate for the mess this franchise has become. It’s not just the gut-punchy losses. It’s the lifeless, charmless, two-thirds empty park they play in and the sense of doom around the finances of the owners, who’d be in financial trouble even without the looming lawsuit. It’s a fragile team prone to hangovers — and until Mike Pelfrey and RA Dickey turn it around — unable to generate a lot of momentum of their own. Maybe things improve upon the return of Bay and Angel Pagan this weekend. Maybe not.

O’Connor: Taking over the No. 50 most recently belonging to Sean Green. His next appearance will be his first in the majors since 2008 with the Nationals, the team that drafted him out of George Washington U in 2008.

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Chapter ’11

I think the Mets are in for a better season than the Wilpons, though I wish them both the best.

11The change in the front office and the manager’s chair I think are all strongly for the good: Though he’ll surely wear out his welcome at some point, Terry Collins appears to have given the group the jolt of energy it needed after a sonambulent tenure under Jerry Manuel, and Collins remarks at least suggest we won’t be in for another season of 8th-inning fetishes, unexplained doghousing and first-inning bunts. In the meantime, Sandy Alderson and his crew appear to have made some pretty good personnel decisions against a limited budget: The bullpen (churn!) looks very promising, and I like the new bench players, particularly Scott Hairston. They may have stretched out the Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez storylines longer than I had a stomach for but I think the decisions on them were correct. I don’t think we can predict what Chris Young or Chris Capuano will do, but both are looking like good selections for a team on a budget.

I worry, as always, about the offense. I’d almost forgiven Jason Bay for being such a kitten last season when his sudden injury this week reminded me he still owes us. I’m surprised to see Carlos Beltran make it to opening day and worry that continued health struggles will suck the energy out of the team again. On the other hand, I quite like Angel Pagan, David Wright, Josh Thole and Ike Davis, who I think can do some real damage in 162 games. And if Jose Reyes shows he’s the kind of player worth agonizong over a long-term contract for, then we’ll probably be having a good year. Brad Emaus could be could be a rookie of the year. He might not either, but it’s not like he’s taking an MVP from Castillo. All upside there.

The Wilpons I think , are facing some real trouble. Not necessarily as a result of the clawback lawsuit, but that they, like a lot of troubled companies today, borrowed heavily upon assumptions that the economy would continue to sizzle at its mid-90s pace (and also, that certain investments would continue delivering 12% returns). The Mets are certainly exhibiting behaviors of businesses headed toward a crisis: They’re deep in debt, revenues are falling, and they are haunted by high legacy costs. They’ve exhausted their credit with an untraditional lender (MLB) which appears to have insisted the club appoint a turnaround management firm. That’s how it happens.

I don’t think a bankruptcy would necessarily be a bad thing for the Mets. It would likely cost the Wilpons control of the team but provide the opportunity for the next owner (there’s evidently no shortage of interest) to restructure the balance sheet to better compete in an economy without magic returns and $500 seats. We never asked for that.

In number news: Rule 5 reliever Pedro Beato has requested he be outfitted in No. 27. He’s been wearing No. 70 this spring. Here’s the cool thing: Adam Rubin of ESPN reports Beato requested it because he wants to honor Juan Marichal.

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Flying Coach

The Mets on Monday named a pack of coaches to accompany new manager Terry Collins, including newcomers Jon Debus (bullpen coach); Ken Oberkfell (bench coach) and Dave Hudgens (hitting coach) and a returnee, first-base coach Mookie Wilson. They join returning third-base coach Chip Hale and pitching coach Dan Warthen. Do any of these men speak Spanish?

Uniform numbers have yet to be assigned to these guys but let’s start with the obvious: If the Mets can manage to get rid of Luis Castillo then No. 1 would be available for Mookie. The Mookster wore No. 51 as a coach in 1997 before No. 1 became available to him, and 51 most recently belonged to Mook’s cross-diamond counterpart, Chip Hale. So there’s some drama whatever happens.

I’m intrigued by the possibility of Ken Oberkfell donning No. 0, as he did when I snapped the above photo a few spring trainings ago. The idea of his being a foil and aide-de-camp for Collins wearing No. 10 makes sense, and if Mookie gets No. 1, well that’s even better. I have no idea and no real opinion on what numbers Hudgens and Debus show up in but it wouldn’t surprise me if they show up in 52 and 53 like Met coaches often do.

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Torborgian Debut for Terry

10Terry Collins meets the press wearing the No. 10 jersey. If the Mets can somehow throw Luis Castillo overboard before opening day I could see him switching to his customary No. 1, otherwise, he’d be the second Mets manager to wear No. 10 and the first since Jeff Torborg donned it in 1992 and 1993. Just examining those parallels at a time like this is enough to scare you so I won’t.

Um, Good luck, Terry!

Update: Terry says he is wearing No. 10 as a tribute to Jim Leland, who gave Collins his start in the Pirates organization. “Plus my wife thinks I’m a 10.” 

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Me and Terry Became Friends

As a friend said, Terry Collins may have been fifth on my list of the final four candidates to become the next Mets manager but now that he is, I guess we owe him a shot. He’s got some admirers among the bright minds of the Mets front office, he was a finalist the last time they held these interviews, and his teams in two previous stops have performed pretty well if not ended that way. We’ll wait for the press conference Tuesday to comfirm it, but I’d expect they have him appear in the No. 1 jersey, even though it currently belongs to Luis Castillo.

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“I’m Bald, and I Live with My Parents”

Isn’t just like the Mets that they needed to be the dumbest team in baseball for five years before they realized they might need to be the smartest? They’re like George Costanza, author of the above title line, upon the realization that his own instincts had become so untrustworthy he needed to openly defy them by doing just the opposite of what they favored. The Mets have a long history of such behavior, whether it’s sitting on their hands whille the bullpen burned to the ground in 2008 then spending the offseason stuffing the roster with high-profile relievers; responding criticism of moves like the Scott Kazmir trade by aggressively promoting 19-year-old hard throwers to the majors; answering their near-complete tone deafness to the will of fans with regards to the new park by inviting bloggers to share a warm chat with executive Dave Howard. Of course they didn’t ask me.

And now it’s replacing the street-smart but improvisational front office of Minaya and Bernazard with the Harvard egghead set of Alderson, DePodesta and Ricciardi. Don’t get me wrong — I like the move and even I liked Omar — but at this time last year we could only hope to get through the offseason before a regrettably dumb move got made. This year, there’s reason to believe we will get through the offseason in better shape than we entered simply because the new guys will apply some discipline and processes designed to get the team pulling together for that purpose. If there’s one thing the previous administration didn’t do, it’s that. Wouldn’t it have been nice if the Mets had realized this when it was time to replace Steve Phillips?

What this all means to the ongoing managerial search remains a mystery although many seem to think it helps Terry Collins‘ candidacy: He’s reportedly admired by Paul DePodesta, got good reviews for his work with the Mets’ minor leaguers last year (he was the opposite of Tony Bernazard, natch), and has been compared favorably to Bobby Valentine for his energy, enthusiasm and international experience (ironically, Collins’ first managerial job was to replace the placid Art Howe in Houston). He was a finalist the last time the Mets interviewed for managers in the dawn of the Omar Era in 2005. On the downside, the veterans in Houston and Anaheim eventually tuned him out, he lacks any real Mets heritage and he’s unlike to excite the fanbase all by himself (but the support of the New Holy Trinity would say something).

Sartorially, Collins wore No. 2 while managing the Astros from 1994-96 and No. 1 for the Angels during their Disney period.

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