So the New York Mets' extended managing derby is finally over and the winner of a two-year contract is 61-year-old Terry Collins. You might remember him from such managing stints as the "Houston Astros" (1994-96), "Los Angeles Angels" (1997-99) and "China's national baseball team" (2009 World Baseball Classic). He's 444-434 as a major league manager and finished second in five of his six years in charge.
As you might expect, the hiring by Sandy Alderson and his college of former GMs is not exactly being lauded as revolutionary by the Mets' media and fanbase. They're a group that would find fault with the reanimation and hiring of Connie Mack, after all.
But if Mets fans are writing down positives while they await Collins' arrival, the top of the list contains the fact that he'll be a lot more animated than Willie Randolph or Jerry Manuel when TV cameras find him in the dugout during losses. Collins is renowned for being an intense and demanding guy and the 11 long years between big league jobs probably reflects that.
Newsday's Ken Davidoff calls the hiring a "bold" move, but notes that this could be a a case of "be careful what you ask for ... you might just get it."
Meanwhile, Joel Sherman of the New York post is a bit more pessimistic, writing that all of his positives come bundled with a big 'but' because of his people skills.
Here's Sherman's initial take on Collins:
"The 'but' is about temperament, about a Type-A personality that has led to communication and command issues in his two previous managerial stints. Word was he lost his clubhouse with the Astros, really lost it with the Angels.
"He will not get anything beyond a third strike so this is his final chance to show that he has learned something from that past; that 11 years removed from his last managing job and at age 61 he has grown self-aware enough to modify the behavior that made him appear like he was auditioning to be the sergeant in Full Metal Jacket.
"Put me down as extremely dubious that Collins is a new man. I simply do not believe too many adults adjust their behavior much; you are who you are."
Sherman backs that last generalization by recalling Larry Bowa's failed stint with the Philadelphia Phillies after wearing out his welcome with the San Diego Padres 13 years earlier. Being compared with Bowa comes with negative connotations and it's funny to note that Bowa could end up a member of Collins' staff in New York.
But if Mets fans wanted a guy who looks upset as they do through all this losing in Queens, then they probably got their man in Collins. Though I think the intensity of Randolph and Manuel was way underrated, at least it'll be entertaining to watch Collins while he endures the New York media's famous and constant prodding.
And if it doesn't work? Well, it's only a two-year contract and Wally Backman will always be there to be the next "fiery" guy to take the reins of the franchise.