Tact is not a strong suit of New York Mets manager Terry Collins when it comes to dealing with the media.
Collins has had several abrasive moments this season, notably when he said he didn’t care what the fans thought during in the Jordany Valdespin episode. Everything about the Valdespin incident was handled poorly, which I partially attribute to Collins’ lame duck status. Collins immediately spun into damage control and it didn’t hurt when the team started playing better soon after.
Then there was his dumbfounded denial of ever hearing of Matt Harvey’s sore forearm that led to his elbow injury. The manager gets an injury report from the training staff whenever a player has treatment, so Collins knew. Denial about injuries is not the way to go.
He’s had two more the past few weeks.
The first was when Ruben Tejada went down with a broken leg in the ninth inning of the Mets’ furious rally to beat San Francisco. Tejada was injured in the top of the ninth, yet finished the inning on the field. There was no announcement in the press box about the injury, and also no surprise when he was lifted for a pinch-hitter.
After the game, toward the end of the questioning session, a reporter asked how Tejada was feeling.
“He broke his leg,’’ snapped Collins, in a demeanor that elicited muffled laughter because nobody knew and the impression was the manager was being sarcastic.
Collins’ first words after every game, to alleviate any confusion, should be an updated injury report. The questions will be asked, so get it out of the way. The reporter asked an innocuous question because the Mets made no announcement and Collins didn’t volunteer the injury.
Lastly, last night came his barbed response to the question whether he would consider giving Dillon Gee an inning so he could reach the 200-inning milestone, something the pitcher deeply covets.
“Why?’’ Collins said. “I mean, seriously? I don’t think so.’’
He never said why he wouldn’t.
Collins was accused in his managerial stint with the Angels of not being in touch with his players. How could he not know this was important to Gee? If the concern was injury related, then say so. Or, he could have said something along the lines of “that’s 200 innings as a starter, it would cheapen the milestone to give him an inning as a reliever.’’
Instead, Collins came off as condescending. He’s been around long enough to know the question would be asked, so he should have had a better answer. The appearance was he was surprised, and bothered, by the question.
If all else fails, he could have simply said, “I don’t know. That’s something I will have to discuss with Dillon.’’
It is expected Collins will get an extension. Hopefully, he’ll come back more tactful and less sensitive.
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