From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET
NEW YORK METS: Terry Collins Remains At Helm Of The S.S. Wilpon. Will Wally Backman Remain Quietly At Las Vegas Serving As The Team's Lifeboat?
The Mets finally extended Terry Collins for another two seasons. That just tells me Sandy Alderson is rewarding his field manager with a fair shot at leading a markedly improved roster. I guess that's only fair considering the GM spent three years trading away Terry's top performers, while injuries decimated the rest. However, should things go awry next season, Sandy Alderson kept himself in a position to make a quick switch if the need arrives earlier than later. At Terry's age, a longer deal was unlikely anyway.
Is he the right guy for the job? Well, Terry Collins is not a bad fit or necessarily wrong for the club. Prior to taking the helm in Flushing, Terry Collins roved throughout the Mets minor leagues. So, if there is anyone familiar with many of the organization's rising prospects, it would be him. To date, no one is aware of any enemies Terry might have created while employed by the Mets, unlike several well known episodes which occurred in his prior places of employment. Instead, in a sense, these are indeed a collective of Terry Kids.
He handles himself well in front of a microphone and stays in charge of the media, unlike his two previous predecessors who were always too busy being defensive trying to fend them off.
On the field, if you're okay with opposing pitchers continually throwing at David Wright with no threat of retaliation, a team lacking basic fundamental bunting skills, his occasional odd in-game strategies, bullpen misuse, and a generally vanilla atmosphere, then he is definitely the right guy.
Now I'm curious as all hell to see if Wally Backman will stay on to manage the Mets AAA-affiliate for a third straight season. Extending Terry Collins didn't exactly close any windows of opportunity.
Why would Sandy Alderson employ someone who didn't necessarily fit his criteria? That's why I feel Wally Backman is still in the mix. Should the Mets stumble out of the block next season, or struggle throughout the first half, Sandy Alderson would have a readily available in-house option with which to facilitate a switch. I guess the same can be said of third base coach Tim Teufel. He wouldn't be my choice though. I'm in Backman's corner.
I do not feel Terry Collins owns a killer instinct to rival that of Wally Backman's. Terry Collins no doubt keeps his players accountable, but Wally Backman will make them play with purpose. And believe me, Wally Backman would have the league thinking twice about continually throwing at the head of David Wright. Players respect Terry Collins, but I feel players will want to do extraordinary things playing for Wally Backman. The whole Mets condition and on field dynamic would change under Wally Backman, and that may be exactly what the organization fears.
Terry Collins respects the game and good honest competition. Hiring Wally Backman means it's us against the world again. Sometimes the difference between being good and great is the people you have in your corner.