Feb 17

What Terry Collins Should Say To The Mets

Terry Collins will talk to his team prior to Monday’s full squad workout, but says he won’t go the underdog route, as COO Jeff Wilpon did last spring. The underdog angle is usually a good angle, but the Mets haven’t had a winning season since 2008, so it is safe to say they are familiar with the losing perspective.

Collins pulling a Knute Rockne tomorrow won’t do anything for the Mets. His message must be firm and simple.

It should begin the basics. “Gentlemen,” he should say, “you have the rare privilege of playing major league baseball. Make the most of this opportunity. We are a rebuilding franchise and are looking for players who produce and play hard. One thing I will not tolerate is a lack of hustle. I want to you be on time and hustle. There’s never an excuse for not running.”

Collins should let it be known a lack of hustle will be met with being benched.

Secondly, Collins should tell his troops there is also never a reason not to play fundamental baseball. Errors are part of the game, but mental mistakes such as throwing to the wrong base or wasting at-bats is not acceptable. For the pitchers, pitch selection has to be stressed. If a pitcher doesn’t like the sign put down by the catcher, then don’t throw the damn ball.

Prior to every pitch, a baserunner, pitcher or batter should know his responsibility. All too often in the past few years Mets hitters have thrown away at-bats and pitchers haven’t been able to finish hitters and innings.

Bernie Williams once told me one of the hardest things to do in the sport is to concentrate on every pitch, to ask himself what he should do on that pitch. And, to do it over and over again. It is something winning players and winning teams are able to consistently do.

If the Mets are to take a step toward credibility, it must first begin with learning how to concentrate and think the game.

Aug 09

Mets Embarrassed At Home; Should Invite Everybody Back

 Do you remember Terry Collins’ passionate speech about showing a different team and not being embarrassed? Seems so long ago. Maybe he needs to que up the Knute Rockne music for an encore.
The Mets came out of the break five games over .500 and after last night’s 13-0 rout are five games under. They’ve lost nine straight at home, with only 26,000 bothering to show up to witness last night. Chris Young, coming off a strong outing against San Francisco – where the Mets may have left both their hearts and game – gave up seven runs in just 4.1 innings.
“When you get beat like this tonight, it’s one of those games, you just check it off the calendar and get ready for tomorrow,” said Collins, speaking in a classic managerial cliche.
Hell, last night unfolded as if the Mets checked it off after batting practice. Maybe saying that is piling on, I don’t know. What I do know is the team is about to face the Braves, Reds and Nationals.
The Mets talked about showing up, but that’s not enough. All the goodwill from the first half has been eroded as they are 2.5 games out of the cellar. Want to bet Miami and the Phillies will eventually catch them?
During the dog days at Shea when the team was playing poorly the paltry crowds were embarrassing to see in that cavernous ball park. Citi Field is getting that ghost town look, too. As a gesture of thanks to their disappointed fan base, the Mets ought to invite those people who watched last night’s carnage to show their ticket stub and come back again.
There’s plenty of room in Citi Field and it demonstrates goodwill. Actually, there’s no good reason not to do it.