On-Base Perception

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They gotta believe he believes

Mets manager Terry Collins during a spring training

Mets manager Terry Collins during a spring training workout. (Feb. 28, 2012) (Credit: Alejandra Villa)

Terry Collins has made some fairly bold moves lately, taking out his closer in the middle of an inning, removing one of the most prominent batters for a pinch-hitter, even taking out Jon Rauch in the eighth inning, which is his domain.

At first glance, it suggests that Collins is not concerned about hurting anybody’s feelings. A deeper look might show that he does take confidence levels and egos into account, and that he is getting players to trust him. With both Frank Francisco and Ike Davis, the manager went right back to the player the next opportunity: Francisco was still the closer, Davis was back in the lineup the next night.

“Ultimately you want that to be known, it’s about the team, not just one or two guys, but by the same token, they’ve got to believe you believe in them,” the manager said. “They’ve got to trust you. They’ve got to trust your judgment, they’ve got to know that you have their best interest in mind.”

You could make a good case that he gained credibility on the last day of last season, when he allowed Jose Reyes to bunt his way on and take himself out of the game. A lifetime of baseball instincts might have told Collins it was not the honorable thing to do, but he believed Reyes deserved that consideration from the boss.

Collins probably had a fairly good idea that Reyes would never play for him again. Still, he was essentially telling all future players: “Play hard for me, and I’ll be there for you.”

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