Terry Collins is a smart guy who made some pretty out-of-bounds comments Monday night. Some might even call them stupid.
I leaned in that direction when I came down on Collins for ripping the fans in his response to a question on if the Mets were leaving Jordany Valdespin out to dry after his actions last weekend.
“I don’t answer to fans,’’ Collins said reporters in St. Louis. “They don’t play this game. They have no idea what goes on. They have no idea what goes on in there. They have absolutely no idea what it means to be a professional teammate at this level.’’
Collins also went on to say he didn’t care about the perception of the Valdespin incident, ranging from the player celebrating his meaningless home run in a blowout loss, to the manager anticipating the payback plunking, to the player’s dugout tantrum.
There’s no mistaking what Collins meant, but it should be noted this could have been alleviated had he danced around the question and later vented his true feelings in an off-the-record session with the New York traveling media. Had he done so, Collins’ comments wouldn’t have left his Busch Stadium office.
Speaking on WFAN this afternoon, Collins was in full damage control, saying: “The New York fans are maybe the most knowledgeable fans that I’ve ever been around.
“When the question was asked, it pretty much was … Look, as much as I respect everybody’s opinions, it’s my opinion that counts and what’s best for this club. I can’t be influenced by outside people who aren’t here, and that’s pretty much all I meant. Certainly I misused the words. I shouldn’t have said ‘fans.’ I should have just said ‘people.’ ’’
However, what are fans, if not people?
Collins might have meant fans and media lumped together when he said “people,’’ but either way, why take on a foe when you don’t have to?
If you want to give Collins benefit of doubt, which I don’t have a problem with, you have to recognize his frustration and the pressure he’s under. His is not an easy job, made harder by the cards Sandy Alderson dealt him. We can go on item-by-item of all Collins doesn’t have to work with, and then add the headache that is Valdespin.
To understand fully what Collins is dealing with, you have to hear what Valdespin said last night. Valdespin was sent up to pinch-hit in another blowout loss. After taking a couple of pitches, he stepped out of the batter’s box and took a deep breath.
When asked after the game what he was thinking about, Valdespin said what he would do if he hit a homer.
Yeah, after hearing that, I’m willing to give Collins a pass on Monday’s comments. He deserves it for having to deal with Valdespin.