In Praise Of Terry Collins

(Sunday Paper, Volume I, Issue 17)

I hope I don't lose some of you here by writing about the Mets.

But really I don't think this is about baseball - it's about good leadership.

(And if you're not interested in this part of the Sunday Paper - Lee? - at least scroll down to the other parts...the whole thing here isn't about baseball.)

I know he has his managerial flaws, but I'm here today to sing the praises of Mets manager Terry Collins.

Let's talk about those flaws first. Collins makes some poor in-game decisions. He'll go with a gut decision instead of what the statistics say. He'll rely on guys too heavily...or he'll let his heart interfere with his head, like in the last game of the World Series last year when he left Matt Harvey out for a couple of batters too many and went on to lose the game and the series.

I can relate totally. I always let my heart interfere with my head when I watch or get ready to watch a game. These are the exact same decisions I would make if I were managing a Major League Baseball team. But I don't manage in the majors. And I never will. And in some ways, Collins is lucky these things haven't yet cost him his job.

But here's why I believe Terry Collins gets a lifetime pass (from me, at least): He's done amazing work with limited resources.

Collins took over the Mets in 2011. They were a floundering franchise. From 2011 through 2014 the team won 74 games twice, 77 once, and 79 in 2014. Those were probably better records than the team deserved. After 2014 they were thought to be two years away.

Then, last year, piecing together an injured roster and playing mostly minor leaguers at the major league level, Collins kept the Mets in the race. And when August hit and he got players back to health and major league-level players in his lineup for three months, all he did was take that team to the World Series.

This year it's been more of the same. It's almost eerie how at times this year has resembled last year. The Mets have had to rely on replacements at second base, third base, first base, center field, in most of their starting rotation, and for a large part of the season shortstop. This year, unlike last year, the major trade deadline acquisition has been a bust.

And all the team has done in the past couple of months has been win.

The low point came when the Mets dropped to two games below .500 on the west coast.

I've seen plenty of teams quit in situations like that. This team had all the markings of a team that would fade away.

But they didn't. They've played .700 ball since that time and should grab one of the wild card spots. If they get into the playoffs, anything can happen.

They've had different players step up at different times to help them win games.

They have an ace starter in Noah Syndergaard who has a competitive fire that can lead a team to a championship.

But I think a large part of the credit has to go to Collins, who somehow kept the team from quitting. I think that's a huge sign of respect for him as a leader, that this team didn't fall apart on him and, in fact, turned things around.

His mistakes happen out on the diamond for everyone to see.

I think his greatest accomplishments take place in the clubhouse when no one but the team that trusts him is looking.


*I don't love Halloween. Maybe I'll write about that in the coming weeks. I just don't like being scared. So it's funny that this week I wrote a bunch of articles for the NY issue of the magazine I've been writing for all about scary activities for adults around Halloween. If you're in the Rochester area and want a good scare, I've got some places for you to check out. I also wrote about a brewery in Ava, Illinois that sounds pretty great if you're ever in the middle of nowhere. (And I know of a couple of others that I've been writing about in the Finger Lakes region of New York that I could tell you about too.)


*I told you September was shaping up to be a great month of comedy - so far, so good. Monday I was at Terry O'Reilly's Comedy Night - that's a once a month show in Newton. Great space. They also have an awesome weekly comedy and music open mic on Wednesdays that is worth checking out, whether you're performing or just watching. Friday I was at Pavement Coffeehouse on Commonwealth Avenue and it was really wonderful. That show happens every third Friday of the month and it's in a part of Boston that I love and Friday was a good time. 

*This week I'm at The Comedy Studio on Friday night. It probably will sell out, so if you're interested in seeing some great comedy - there are some comics I really like on that show - I would act fast buying tickets. A Friday or Saturday night at The Comedy Studio is a great night of comedy with a great atmosphere.

What I've Been Enjoying

*I read Harry Potter And The Cursed Child recently. I didn't know what to expect...I guess deep down I knew I had to read it but expected it was probably just going to be a mail-it-in-watch-the-money-pour-in-from-sales kind of deal. I didn't think I was going to enjoy it all that much.

So imagine my surprise when I loved it.

Oh man did I enjoy it. I'm glad I just recently re-read the series - I think that helped me appreciate this book even more. (Well, really it's the script of a play, which helps make it a quick read.) I don't want to spoil anything, so if you don't want a minor spoiler don't read the rest of this paragraph: I love reading about time travel. Some of my favorite books of all time involve time travel. And this one's plot pretty much revolves around it. I love how everything came together in the book, and I couldn't believe how true to the originals everything was. It was incredible. 

I think the New York Times Book Review from a couple of weeks ago summarizes exactly how I felt and I'm going to link to that here, but it's a little more spoiler-y than what I wrote above, so don't click if you're not ready for it. 


*Yes, that picture up there is the best picture I have in my files of Terry Collins. Sorry.

*If you're keeping score at home, I'm still pretty obsessed with Instagram Stories. I keep saving the good ones. I'll post them on the Facebook page occasionally in case you missed them in their 24-hour life span on Instagram.

*Sorry about the baseball-heavy post (Lee). But it's past mid-September and the Mets are in the playoff hunt. That's a big deal. Rarely are they in the post-season in back-to-back seasons.