The New York Mets are blowing away the expectations people had for them before the season, and a big reason for that has to be manager Terry Collins.
Some sports figures, like Derek Jeter can do no wrong. They will be always be loved and admired by fans.
Some sports figures, like Eli Manning, can do no right. Despite winning two Super Bowls and putting up elite numbers, and never missing a start, he is and will always remain in his brother Peyton’s shadow.
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New York Mets manager Terry Collins falls somewhere in between, when Collins was hired in 2010 by a new front office regime lead by GM Sandy Alderson.
At the time, there were mixed feelings. Many fans wanted the Mets to hire Wally Backman, the former Mets second baseman who was part of the 1986 team that won the World Series. Backman, known for his fiery demeanor, had managed in their minor league system gaining a good reputation for working with young players.
The Mets went in a different direction selecting former Astros and Angels manager Terry Collins. While he had some success with these teams, his last time managing a major league was during the Clinton administration (1999) which ended with a tearful resignation. In clubhouse fighting of stars Troy Percival, who accused his teammates of not supporting him during a brawl, and negative comments by Mo Vaughn was the last straw.
It seemed to be the end of his managerial career in the big leagues. But after stints managing in Japan, and as head of the Mets minor league system, he was given another opportunity to manage with the Mets.
Five seasons later, the Mets are in first place contending for the playoffs for the first time in over five years.
Some fans don’t give managers the credit they deserve. In the new world of advanced statistics, (known as sabermetrics) many argue that the difference a manager makes in a team’s record could amount to two wins and losses. See Neil Paine’s article in this link to read more.
Collins deserves a lot of credit for the Mets success this season. They have gone from having the best record in the MLB to a record under .500 and back to first place. Injuries to David Wright, Travis d’around, and Zach Wheeler have ravished the team.
Yet, through it all, they continue to play hard. Terry Collins is not a “New York” guy like Joe Torre, Joe Girardi, and Willie Randolph are. And his Mets haven’t won anything yet. Considering how bad the situation was when he was when he left Anaheim, no one should forget that he should get recognition and credit for their success this season.