Terry Collins On 2011 Mets “When You Know The Mets Are Coming To Town Your Defense Better Be On Its Toes.”
After eleven years of being away from Major League Baseball, Terry Collins was named manager of the New York Mets on November 23rd, 2010. Collins was selected as the 20th manager in franchise history as he was asked to resurrect an organization that has been under utter disappoint and turmoil during the last decade. The New York Mets organization went through a “house cleaning” this offseason removing former General Manager, Omar Minaya, and former manager, Jerry Manuel. Mets fans do not need to be told of the major headlines that their franchise has made over the years. There were back-to-back years of failing to reach the postseason in 2007-2008 after leading the division going into September along with the Tony Bernazard issue and Francisco Rodriguez imploding on his father-in-law after a game last August.
The Metropolitans are looking for a clean slate going into 2011 with a new face to the organization under the front office management of Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta. Alderson chose Terry Collins over ten final contestants that included Chip Hale, Wally Backman and Bob Melvin. Collins looks to change the culture of this once proud franchise by stressing fundamentals which is something he learned during his time managing in Japan along with running the bases frequently. He’s got his work cut out for him with a tireless fan base and an NL East featuring a super power in the Philadelphia Phillies. Terry Collins joined Mike Francesa on WFAN in New York to discuss a different type of spring training under his regime, is he a manager that’s big on fundamentals, how he will decipher the center field/right field issue for the New York Mets, dealing with the negative vibe from the fan base on players such as Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, the Mets lineup being pretty formidable if healthy and the brand or hallmark of the 2011 Mets team under his guidance.
What are we going to notice about spring training with the Mets under your new regime?
“Mike I just want it to run efficiently. I want to make sure at the end of the day that the players have got the maximum work that they could possibly get done in the day. It doesn’t have to be done in a lengthy period of time, it just has to be done in an organized, disciplined, period of time, so we’re setting up our groups. We’re trying to spread out and use all the fields we can and make the groups small, so the repetitions can be a lot in these small groups to get the work done.”
Are you a big guy on fundamentals in spring training?
“I’m huge because I think that’s how you play the game Mike. I think we’re going to work on it on a daily basis you know and I know everybody talks about, but again I had the chance to see it work with a way in Japan. They are so fundamentally sound and they just don’t make throwing errors. They just throw to the right bases. They hit cut off men. They’re very, very accurate. The little part of the game here that we take for granted because maybe perhaps we’ve played more baseball games, but it’s still an important part of our game. We’re gonna work on it.”
How will you decipher center field and right field for the Mets with Carlos Beltran and Angel Pagan? Original thought on how you will settle this problem?
“Well Mike that’s probably one of the biggest questions I’ve had to answer so far. What we’re gonna do is when we get to spring training when Carlos shows up, we’re gonna sit down and come up with a game plan. Now if he tells us he thinks that his leg is good enough to try to play center we’re gonna give him the opportunity to show us that early in our exhibition season. Then as we go along we will continue to make a determination of whether or not it’s going to be good enough or whether or not right field is a better option for him. He has said and been very, very upfront with “Hey look I’ll do whatever is best for this club.” So when we sit down and we decide what we want to do he’s gonna be on board with it. I don’t want to leave that room without making sure he has some input in it.”
Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo have been players that have become big negative with the fans and the fan base. Is that something this franchise has to deal with or you in particular?
“Well you know we’ve heard it all, but as you know Mike bottom line is at the end of camp you got to take the best twenty-five. That’s why we gotta make sure we get everybody the proper number of games, the proper number of innings pitched, and you know so we can make the proper determination of who’s to fit and who’s not. The one thing Sandy (Alderson) said ” We’re going to take the best twenty-five North. That does not mean contracts.” (As a factor in personnel decisions)
If all the Mets are healthy is the #1-#6 (Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Ike Davis) in the order a pretty good lineup for you? That’s not a bad offensive team right there?
“I totally agree and I totally believe in that lineup. I’ve explained it to each and every guy why I’ve done what I’ve done there. I told them if they do what the back of their baseball card says that they do every year we got a chance to put some runs on the board and if we do that and our pitching throws the ball over the plate our defense will take care of the rest. I think we got a chance to at least compete on a nightly basis.”
What’s going to be the real brand or hallmark of this New York Mets team? What will the style be under your guidance?
“Well I’m certainly hoping Mike that when you know the Mets are coming to town your defense better be on its toes because we’re gonna run the bases. We’ve got just as you said foot speed. We’ve got guys throughout the lineup that can steal a base, that score from second, that can take an extra base. We’re gonna play defense behind you. We’re not gonna beat ourselves and at the end of a series you know we may not scare you with our starting rotation and although I’d have to say Mike Pelfrey would make you a little worried facing him, but you know when you get done playing us I’d think you know you’ve been in a series. That’s how we’re going to have to do it night-after-night to compete.”