The Terry Collins MetCast Interview

The Terry Collins MetCast Interview

By: Giana La Lima

Terry Collins is one of the most memorable Mets managers of all time. His passion and love for the game were so evident that you could feel it through the television. He gave 110% of himself every time he put on the uniform. In 2015, he managed the Mets to their first World Series game in 15 years and was only the fifth manager in history to do so. Throughout his tenure as manager, there were many highs and lows, but he was consistent.

Mets fans will always remember Terry Collins for his fiery managing style. Most memorable will, of course, be from 2016 when Noah Syndergaard threw behind Utley. It’s rare that you see managers in today's game react like that. Collins got the Mets to the playoffs in both 2015 and 2016, which was only the second time in franchise history that the team went to the playoffs in back-to-back years. In his seven-year tenure with the Mets, he won 551 games, placing him in 2nd for most wins as a Mets manager.

In our most recent Twitter space, we had the privilege to sit down and talk to Terry Collins about his tenure with the Mets, his thoughts about today's managers, and his thoughts on the 2024 New York Mets.

When I asked Terry what he would say to the clubhouse right now after a tough start, he was quick to mention that there were still 156 games left and the biggest message to spread is “keep showing up, it’s going to get better”. As fans, it is easy to overreact to a bad start to the year, but the truth is it is a long season, and as Terry said, it is better to have a down spot now rather than later in the season. Every team is bound to have their highs and lows, but it is important to build momentum at the end of the season just like the 2015 team did. Terry recognizes the Mets' offensive slow start but says “the back of their baseball card will dictate what to expect,” and that is true this team is still built off of good offensive players. Obviously, Lindor, Nimmo, and McNeil are not off to a good start by any means, but we all know what those guys are capable of.

As Collins says, being a manager has changed a great deal since he last managed the Mets. Now Carlos Mendoza is being fed information from so many different coaches and analytics people that there can also be an overload of information. “It's not like just walking in and having a gut and saying here’s my lineup today, there’s a lot more parameters that you have to face now.” Managing is so much more than just creating the lineup, establishing a good clubhouse environment, and managing the bullpen. Currently, it seems to be a trend that the higher-ups create the lineups and the managers have little say in the matter. This brings up the question of what if players want to talk to the manager about their lineup spot but yet the manager isn’t even making the lineup, how does a manager handle that situation? Terry had a good point; the players coming up from the minors are used to this system, so they realize and recognize it as part of their game. Especially when it comes to pitchers, analytics play a major role. Terry shared how with Seth Lugo analytics said he could only go 75 pitches and then he needed to be pulled, but one night his stuff was really working and Terry said “hey not this night not this particular night it’s working” and he kept him in the game. However, he feels that in today's game regardless of how good Lugo’s stuff was, he would still be taken out of the game. The evolution of managing happened quickly and is very different from when Terry managed the Mets.

Getting to reflect on 2015, Terry shared some great stories and insider information for what it felt like to manage that team.

Looking back on that 2015 team, our best feature was our pitching. As the summer got later, almost all the pitchers except Bartolo Colon had inning limits. To try and limit their innings, Terry told the staff he was thinking about switching to a six-man rotation and “well, the first guy who stood up and said no I want the baseball was Matt Harvey,” even though Harvey did make a public statement about not wanting to pitch too much because he was worried about getting hurt due to overuse. After getting pulled out of a game against the Yankees where he had a stellar 5 innings, he walked into Terry's office and looked Terry in the eyes saying “I want the baseball, I want to pitch, I don’t want to go through what I did yesterday.” This carried into the postseason and into the World Series when Matt Harvey was pitching in game 5. Harvey was throwing one of the best games of his career when it mattered most; he had 8 shutout innings, in the dugout you could see Harvey go up to Terry and plead to not be taken out of the game. Obviously, we all know how it all ended but everyone in the crowd at the time wanted Harvey back out there and so did Terry. Even after knowing the outcome all these years later, Terry said “I have absolutely no regrets at all.” However, one time while in Florida, Terry recalled a time when a fan said “I would have taken Matt Harvey out,” to which Collins replied “okay that’s great but I got 48,000 people who disagree with you”.

Another major aspect of the 2015 season was the trade deadline week. Probably the craziest week in Mets baseball history. It all started with the game against the Padres, a trade that never happened. Mid-game news breaks that the Mets and the Brewers have agreed to a trade that would send Carlos Gomez back to the Mets in exchange for Wilmer Flores and others. This news spread quickly and reached Flores, which created the iconic moment of him crying on the field. After the game Sandy Alderson came out and said no trade was going through. Then the next day the Mets were up 7-1 at one point during the game but as they entered the 9th they were up 7-5, Familia came in and got 2 outs but then the heavens opened up and they needed to enter a rain delay just one out shy of a win. Well after a very long rain delay they started again and the Mets wound up losing the game. Then the turnaround, Sandy Alderson goes out and trades for Yoenis Cespedes and Wilmer Flores hits an iconic walk-off homer to beat the Nationals. This was the turnaround point and from here on out the Mets ran away with the division. I got to ask Terry how he handled the locker room during that week and he gave a lot of credit to the front office, noting that week was a tough time for everyone in the clubhouse. Thankfully, there were a lot of veterans brought in and already in the clubhouse that helped the group come together to realize they had a real shot to make a deep run. He felt that Wilmer showing his emotions and showing how much being a Met meant to him really energized and brought the clubhouse together. After the deadline, the team had a couple of bad losses and when Terry came into the locker room he said “hey guys turn the music on, hey look we’ve lost a couple games and I know it’s part of the game, turn the music on” the next day Cespedes brought in two of the biggest speakers Terry Collins has ever seen. From that day Terry joked that he sometimes couldn’t go in the locker room because the speakers were too loud. At this point, the team was really pulling together and had such confidence that nothing scared them. Obviously, that season didn’t end the way we wanted it to but man it sure was a fun team to watch.

So, to all the Mets fans out there, as Terry Collins would say, "Keep showing up, it's going to get better." Through the highs and lows, the wins and losses, one thing remains constant: the love for this game and the hope for a thrilling season like 2015. Here's to Terry Collins, a manager who gave 110% every time he put on that Mets uniform.

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