Terry Collins and a Stick of Dynamite

Last week I wrote how I was worried Terry Collins could go down the same paranoid-path as Willie Randolph, in the event he ended up being hired as manager of the Mets, in New York, with this media, and this climate, surrounding this team.

Today, in a post to his blog for ESPN.com, Buster Olney goes back to his time covering the Triple-A Nashville Banner, and the first time he met Terry Collins, who was managing the Triple-a Bison at the time, and writes:

“I always thought that with one inarticulate or stupid question, I might set him off like a stick of dynamite.  In a sport in which maintaining an even keel and in coping with the inherent daily failures – that type of demeanor was, and is, very unusual.  So when Collins emerged as a managerial candidate with the Mets, my first instinct – as someone who has seen Collins work and as someone who covered the Mets and Yankees (while Collins was with the Angels) – is that he couldn’t possibly fit in New York unless he had changed dramatically through his experience … Lest there be any doubt, Collins is more than smart enough to adapt . He certainly will recognize the pitfalls as he starts out.  The question is whether he’s changed enough to survive.”

This is not going to be easy for him.  He has a large section of the team’s fan base who are already skeptical or irritated by him being hired.  Fair or unfair, it is what it is, and it will be important to the team – be it for ticket sales, TV ratings or just general in-stadium support – to bring these people back in the fold.

I hope the Mets do creative things this off season to get us all more familiar and comfortable with Collins, to know who he is, what he intends to do, how he views the game, and why he feels we are important in the process – and I don’t just mean a quick speech at tomorrow’s press conference.  I’m talking regular communication, in some way or another, to help rally the troops and get us all excited for spring training.

By the way, to look back on Terry’s time with the Angels and Astros, read Mark Simon’s recent post for ESPN New York.