Terry Collins ‘briefly’ talked to his team after the game, then marched in to his post-game talk with reporters, sat down and said:
“I don’t know how to describe (the 7th inning). I’m sick of trying to describe 7th innings. … I’ll tell you what, Andrew McCutchen plays the game right. That son of a bitch runs down there 3.9, 4 flat, and you better catch it and execute it. He gets a ground ball to third base and beats it out. That’s how you play, and that’s how we’ve got to start playing. … I’m running out of ideas here. You know, do we play hard? Absolutely. That’s not the issue. The issue is not effort. It’s about execution. We need to add on points when we get the lead. I’m not looking for home runs. I’m looking for quality at bats. We can’t make careless mistakes, but we do. We give up at bats. We can’t do that. We don’t have that kind of team. … Make no mistake about it, I truly believe in the players we have. I don’t care where they started the season. I don’t care. I don’t care who were All Stars, who weren’t All Stars, this is a team thing; it’s not one guy, it’s not two guys; it’s a team thing. I sit up here every night trying to figure out what can we do to get us over the top. Should we hit and run more? Well, who do you have up there? You have guys up there you shouldn’t hit and run with. Should we bunt more? Well, if we don’t get bunts down, then you’re putting them in situations to fail. Guys are pitching good, but we get in situations where when guys need to make a pitch they don’t make the pitch. I don’t have the answers. I’m searching. I’m ringing the rag dry, coming in here, having to look at you guys looking at me like I’m a stinking fool. I told these guys, ‘We’re good enough, but we have to play the game right.’ We just can’t continue to make foolish mistakes. … They’re big-league players. They should be able to do it. They should be able to do it. I don’t know if it’s not anticipating the play. I’m not in their minds. But, it’s how you play the game. This is a team thing. And, I’m not just pointing the finger at the players. I told the coaches, ‘We’ve got to do a better job, we’ve got to take responsibility for this.’ I’m the manager. It comes back on my shoulders. … In that 7th inning, those were my players I put out there, who I believe in. So, therefore, maybe I need to make some adjustments. And, by God, they’ll be made. I don’t know it comes with finding different players. But, they’ll be made. Something’s going to be changing.”
First of all, that’s awesome. The Mets are 25-30, and it’s great to hear the manager reflect the same kind of emotion and passion that most fans have for this team. I’m glad we all agree. But, now what? What happens? I am eager to see what ‘changing’ he’s referring to. I’ll tell you what, a good change would be putting Ike Davis and David Wright back in the lineup, and getting Johan Santana and Chris Young in the rotation, but that’s not happening tomorrow. Yet, despite that, I’m glad Terry isn’t blaming injury. He’s saying, regardless of that, these are major-league players and he and they should be doing better. Period. And, that’s a great message. I don’t know how the message translates it to performance, because talent is talent to a certain extent, but – from a Mets Way, ‘change the culture’ point of view – I’m glad he’s saying it.
This season was always going to be about transitioning from the Omar Minaya Era in to the Sandy Alderson Era. And, one aspect of that change was going to be about pushing and forcing a new expectation on to this team. And it was going to be awkward and uncomfortable for some players, it was going to be a perfect fit for others, and it wasn’t going to matter to most, because, when all is said and done and this team one day finds the winner’s circle, odds are most of these guys won’t be here. But, such a transition (be it in talent, mindset, operating procedure, etc.) was NEVER going to happen overnight … hell, it was never going to happen all in one season … but, a night like this, a reaction from Terry like this, is evidence that it is happening (because I haven’t seen a Mets manager behave this way in close to a decade).