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Terry Collins' limited options

Because I wrote about Jose Reyes' situation last night from Citi Field, rather than off the Mets' game, per se, I contemplated hitting the Pirates' clubhouse upon the contest's conclusion. I thought it might be interesting to speak with Pittsburgh leadoff hitter Jose Tabata, the former Yankees prospect, for my Sunday Inisder.

Then I figured, given how ugly that Mets game was, maybe I should attend Terry Collins' news conference. Just to be there in case an eruption occurred.

Collins sat down at the podium, his face bright red. He appeared as angry as Homer looked after Marge ripped into him in the movie theater, during this "Simpsons" episode. Before Collinsspoke a word, it grew clear that this would be a news conference worth attending.

As you can see from David Lennon's linked game story, Collins went ballistic, but at the team's execution, rather than its effort.

Which is tough, because if you tell your team, "Play harder!" than you can at least viscerally measure for results. For guys busting it down the line, going after balls in the field and so on.

If you tell the players, "Play better!" however? What if this is who they are?

Yes, the Mets have played admirably this season, given their abundance of injuries. But it ain't getting much better out there. Ike Davis and David Wright should return at some point, yet Carlos Beltran and Reyes figure to be goners, and other veterans (including Francisco Rodriguez) could depart, as well.

If the Mets don't pull off an unlikely revival shortly, they'll be facing a season in which some important items get progressively worse: The roster. The home attendance. 

The results? That's where Collins' managerial skills will be tested. No, he won't be expected to perform miracles. But he will be expected to find that balance between intense and rational and guide the club through yet another trying campaign.

Is he up to that? There's no ignoring Collins' history. In three major-league managing gigs - the Astros, Angels and Orix Buffaloes - Collins didn't merely struggle with this concept. He was terrible at it. To use an old-fashioned SAT analogy:

COLLINS: MANAGING THROUGH ADVERSITY::

(A) Bonds: hittiing

(B) Picasso: painting

(C) Weiner: tweeting

(D) Sinatra: singing

The correct answer would be (C).

As Lennon pointed out, Collins said, "Something's got to be changed," but the only re-enforcement walking through that door any time soon is Reyes today, and he'll likely be gone within two months.

The Mets will get through this, eventually. One largely unaddressed upside of the David Einhorn investment is that Sandy Alderson figures to get a few years, if not necessarily a great deal of money, to carry out his job.

Whether Collins meets them on the other side of this, however, is to be decided. He doesn't have full say in his fate, not even close. He has some, however.

(And by the way, I kept my Reyes column for all editions, because I think Collins' outburst was relatively inconsequential. There just isn't much at stake. As opposed to the Reyes stuff.)

I don't have time for a full "links" post this morning, so just a couple of other items:

--Darryl Strawberry spoke with Gary Carter on Tuesday, Laura Albanese reports. My understanding is that Carter told Strawberry, as he has told other friends that he didn't make the last out of the 1986 World Series, and he isn't going to give up now. Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, who is a close, personal friend of Islander505, wrote that Carter told Marlins announcer Tom Hutton the same thing.


Tags: Alex Rodriguez , Terry Collins , Brett Gardner , Darryl Strawberry , Gary Carter

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