Still lamenting dropping two of three to Washington? Take a break. Because even Gil Hodges would appreciate this team. They are a loose, yet tight-knit group, which plays with spirit, and tenacity. They aren’t perfect; far from it. But they try hard. They offer no histrionics, just good ol’ baseball effort. Their never-say-die attitude is quite admirable. And I’m sure Gil would also overwhelmingly approve of the job Terry Collins is doing, and how he handles his young club.
In an odd twist, Terry Collins upped the ante on Pedro Beato after the pitcher made some post-game comments regarding Josh Thole and his inability to handle the wild pitch Beato unleashed causing Wednesday’s night’s loss. But what is interesting is how the Media downplayed the incident, reading very little into Beato’s words, or Thole’s reaction. SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt in particular, rendered the situation into a non-issue. Now how often has that happened over the last five years? Not necessarily Kevin, but the beat-writers, and overall? Times are indeed changing.
But here’s the real point. Terry Collins did what needed to be done. Sometimes a non-issue is good a time as any to remind a club there will be no dissension in the ranks, and that accountability is now paramount to playing for the Mets. On the heels of a five game losing streak, Coach Terry’s closed door meeting was most likely a bit opportunistic in practice, but it was a timely reminder none-the-less.
In light of the Media minimizing what could have been construed as a jab directed at Josh Thole, was Coach Terry’s response an over-reaction then? I say no, and far from it. As a manager; as an alpha-manager; even the slightest hint of division is reason enough to send team wide messages. It’s team management 101 – to reinforce the principles and creed of the club.
Sometimes without reasonable cause, a message like Coach’s sounds corny. Yes, corny, or like mindless rah-rah, or drivel from an old man. However in this instance, I applaud Terry for making something out of nothing. As a manager, you have to pick and choose your moments. And sometimes, you have to create your moments. But because you’re dealing with men, you better be right about your timing, and your tact. Otherwise, these are still baseball players. And because they are men playing a kids game, believe it or not, sometimes they like to get yelled at. It strikes a chord with the boy in all of us, IF, it’s done right. If you have ever coached, you know what I’m talking about.
Additionally, we know, and everyone knows, Terry’s history prior to joining the Mets. As Mets fans, we have no idea what the problem could have been. We haven’t seen that guy from the Mets’ manager. For all intent and purpose, all we’ve seen is…Terry Collins. And his decision to close the door after Wednesday’s game was smartly crafted if you ask me.
But do keep in mind, the post-game mini drama was indeed a non issue. And Pedro Beato appropriately went to Josh Thole and apoloized. But Terry’s timing was right on. And I do not say that because they won Thursday afternoon. If I may, a drip in the faucet which goes unattended eventually becomes a steady stream. Remember back to Mad Willie, and Jerry the Clown. Remember when the clubhouse descended into “LatinoGate” because of a massive lack of communication on many levels, none of which had anything to do with language! Recall how this clubhouse suffered from numerous cracks in it’s walls. And remember how the Media surrounded the two former managers; one like a pack animal, and the other like some unplugged off-Village comedy show.
In a time not too long ago, Beato’s comments would have been blown way out of proportion, and the Media would have just run through the Mets and their manager like Godzilla going through Tokyo. If you haven’t already, take notice. Terry Collins just reaffirmed control of his team when it needed to be shaken out of a funk. And in a manner of speaking, he’s deciding what the Media is talking about. If Coach Terry says Wednesday’s non-issue was a big enough deal to warrant a closed door meeting, I say good. Our manager is being proactive. No flies on him.
So yeah, Gil Hodges would have approved.