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For Fans Who Should Know Better

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Mudville: April 13, 2024 8:55 am PDT

BY KEVIN KERNAN

Terry Collins is a good baseball man.

TC managed 3,856 professional games, including 13 years in the majors where he compiled a 995-1017 mark with the Astros, Angels and Mets. Collins took the Mets to the World Series in 2015 and that was quite the ride.

That is one of only five World Series appearances by the Mets. No manager has managed more games for the Mets than Terry Collins. The Mets also went to the postseason for the second straight year in 2016, only the second time in their history they made two straight trips to October.

All that should be enough to make for a good baseball podcast.

Welcome to the Terry Collins Show.

Collins essentially steps in for John Gibbons, who was doing a podcast before the Mets made him Carlos Mendoza’s bench coach. Gibbons played for Collins. Former Met executive J.P. Ricciardi has his own podcast (The Brushback) so this is quite the interesting deal, having former managers and executives, who actually know what they are talking about, hosting podcasts.

Count me in.

Anyone who covered Collins as a manager knows he will be a natural at this because he has incredible baseball knowledge, is a straight shooter, and has the energy of a man half his age and is entertaining.

Collins turns 75 in May, but you would never know it from his level of energy and enthusiasm. He is the same ball of fire today that he was back in 2011 when he first started managing the Mets when I covered him.

Terry Collins truly is a baseball treasure.

That he is not working for a major league club in any capacity says a lot more about the major leagues in 2024 than it does about Terry Collins. Last year he was a special advisor to Marlins GM Kim Ng, a long time friend, checking out the Marlins and their minor leagues, but when she left the club, “I left the club,’’ Collins told BallNine.

Terry Collins with Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets react after an apparent leg injury in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 25, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Beyond managing, Terry Collins was a successful minor league manager for the Dodgers and later a field coordinator and farm director as talent flowed through that organization. He knows all aspects of the game. Plus he has a personality. He is not a drone like so many others in the game today. He lives and  breathes baseball and cares deeply about the game and the players. Collins also does great work for SNY because, as he well knows, with the Mets, there is always something to talk about.

Look for Collins on the Opening Day pre- and post-game shows on SNY.

Other than that, you can find him on his new podcast and that will begin later this month.

“I’m excited about it,’’ Collins told me. “I’ll do it once a week, just talk about the Mets, have guests on and talk about old times, some of the old players, that kind of stuff.’’

There will be plenty to talk about.

“Baseball has been my life,’’ Collins said.

It sure has and will continue to be. Collins has made his mark in so many ways. There was so much I liked about Terry Collins as a manager because of that love of the game. And like anyone who has been around the game for a considerable amount time, Collins has a great sense of humor about the game and himself. He poured his heart and soul into every aspect of the game.

That was obvious with his 2016 argument with umpire Tom Hallion, one of the more classic arguments to every be captured on video. Earl Weaver would be proud that Collins had his player’s back. All this came after Noah Syndergaard threw a 99-mph pitch behind the back of the Dodgers Chase Utley and was ejected. In the 2015 NLDS Utley took out the Mets Ruben Tejada at second base, breaking his leg. So there was history in this pitch and in this argument. Hallion used the unique phrase “our ass is in the jackpot now’’ and that took on a life of its own in the leaked video.

The clip showed the pure passion of Terry Collins. And from a baseball standpoint Collins also knew that on that particular night the Mets, who needed length from Syndergaard, would have to blow out their bullpen once again.

This was just one short glimpse into the life of a manager.

Collins’ co-host for the show is John Arezzi, who came up with the podcast plan.

“John Gibbons did the podcast last year in Toronto,’’ Collins explained of how it all came about. “When Gibby got the Mets job he could not do it anymore. John Arezzi is a huge Mets fan from Queens who long ago worked in the Mets organization. He was watching SNY one night and said, ‘Oh my God, I have to go get Terry Collins to do this show.’ ‘’

Good scouting, John Arezzi. Terry Collins is authentic in every way.

Manager Terry Collins #10 of the New York Mets steps out of the dugout against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field on September 10, 2017. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

“I hope it’s fun, I’m looking forward to it and I told him let’s give it six weeks first to see how it goes,’’ Collins said of taking the leap into podcasting. “I called Gibby to find out about it, he played for me.’’

Who didn’t?

Andy Green, the former Padres manager who is the Mets new senior VP, player development, also played for Collins. So did another guy who is pretty high up in the Mets chain of command, Carlos Beltran, special assistant to the president of baseball operations David Stearns.

Beltran and Collins had a terrific relationship and I remember hearing this story, perhaps from Carlos. Beltran has a great sense of humor, too and one day in the Mets dugout the phone rang and on the other end was owner Jeff Wilpon. Beltran answered but acted as if he were Terry Collins. Wilpon was not happy about something and made his thoughts known. Beltran quietly took it all in and then finally turned to Collins, handed him the phone and said, “Terry, it’s for you.’’

Collins got his first major league managerial job with the Astros in 1994. His Astros were 66-49 and then came the strike. He started managing way back in 1981 in Lodi, the Dodgers Single A affiliate. What a baseball history for Terry Collins. He has managed everywhere, including Japan and is the only manager to come out of the Northwoods League to go to manage in the majors. He was drafted by the Pirates in 1971 so he has been in the pro game one way or another for the last 53 years. He never made the majors as a player. His path came through managing. The stories he can tell.

I still remember Collins’ last game managing the Mets in Philadelphia in 2017 and the class he showed after that game, saying, “This has been a great time, a wonderful run … I had a batting champion, I had a no-hitter, I had the team’s hit king, a World Series, I got to watch one of my pitchers start the All-Star Game. So it’s been a blast, but it’s time.’’

That was a rough, injury filled season for the Mets and at the end of July in Seattle, Collins told me as we we were sitting in the visiting manager’s office: “Every time I come in here all I worry about is putting the lineup together and trying to win.’’

Terry Collins is the ultimate competitor.

“I just want to have some fun, talk baseball, that’s what I do. I’m not here to rip anybody and I don’t need to hear critical stuff on the internet. I’m just here to have some fun.”

With the changes in the game the last few years, more of a focus on base-running, more of a focus on defense, this should be a layup for Collins. He still thinks like a manager. And as I said earlier, his work on SNY is terrific. All he needs to be is himself with this new podcast and hopefully there will be a way that Collins can interact with Mets fans because he has a way of making people feel important.

Collins gives answers from the heart and that is something I deeply appreciate.

“I’ll see how it goes,’’ he said of podcast world.

The Terry Collins Show officially starts the end of March and should be something special and something real, just like the fiery Collins.

Here is a suggestion for a guest. One day get on retired umpire Tom Hallion.

Collins promises he is going to be his honest self on the show.

“I’ve got nothing to lose, Kevin. What the heck,’’ he said. “One of the things I talked about when I did the promo for it is that I just want to have some fun, talk baseball, that’s what I do. I’m not here to rip anybody and I don’t need to hear critical stuff on the internet. I’m just here to have some fun.’’

Collins lives in Port St. Lucie and went to the Yankees-Mets game the other day when old friend Omar Minaya invited him. Collins sat with Omar, who is now a senior advisor with the Yankees, and Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

Baseball people love being around Terry Collins and he loves being around baseball people. “I really enjoyed it,’’ Collins told me of that day. “It was good to see those guys.’’

When Carlos Mendoza got the Mets job he called Collins.

So did Andy Green, it was Collins, who talked Green into getting into coaching. Certainly, both Mendoza and Green should at some point have much longer follow-up conversations with Collins on baseball life in New York. The man has a wealth of knowledge, seven years managing the Mets is a long, long time.

Collins told Green that as farm director, “You are going to make a huge impact in the organization.’’

Collins said Green has the love for the game, much like Collins.

“I loved the way he played and I loved the way he thought,’’ Collins, a former infielder, said of Andy Green the infielder. “He was one of those guys that when he played, you could tell he was going to be a manager. He studied the game. He paid attention. Sparky Anderson used to tell me that he loved those kind of guys. Andy was like that, a lot.’’

Manager Terry Collins #10 of the New York Mets in the dugout during the San Francisco Giants Vs New York Mets National League Wild Card game at Citi Field on October 5, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Collins told Green something else.

“The job that I had that was the most fulfilling was when I was the field coordinator and farm director with the Dodgers,’’ Collins said. “We had (Matt) Kemp and (Clayton) Kershaw and (Russell) Martin, Shane Victorino, Edwin Jackson, James Loney. One year 17 guys on our Double A team got into the big leagues.’’

That’s incredible.

“The Mets picked the right guy in Andy, I’m excited for him,’’ Collins added.

In baseball, it all starts from the ground up. Pitching, hitting, building a team. There are no shortcuts. Everything is important: scouting, development, managing.

Here are some quick observations about the 2024 Mets. “Their lineup is fine,’’ Collins said. “I’ll tell you what they did, they went out and got themselves some depth and that’s important. If there is an injury here or there they’ve got some guys who have played in the big leagues and know how to handle themselves so that’s good.’’

As a manager, you have to have depth. If you are caught short, it kills you.

“Absolutely,’’ Collins said. “They all talk about the ’15 team, a thing, a lot of times they ignore, is the fact that late in the summer I look down that bench and I’ve got Juan Uribe sitting down there, I got Michael Cuddyer sitting down there, I got Kelly Johnson sitting down there, I had big league players, good ones, that I could use that the other manager had to decide who he wanted to face if that pitcher was coming up. If I bring in that lefty I am going to end up facing Cuddyer or Uribe. If it is a righty I’ve got to face Kelly Johnson. It gave me options, so depth was huge.’’

That’s right, Collins managed when NL pitchers hit. Collins managed before there was a Fake Runner to make extra innings fake. Collins managed pre-pitch clock. There was a lot more baseball when Terry Collins managed baseball.

On his podcast baseball will be the subject of the day, but there might be a little golf talk as well. Collins plays a lot of golf.

“It’s pretty good,’’ he said of his game. “I played really good the other day. But I could go out this afternoon and shoot 90. That’s golf.’’

Collins recently played with Quinn Griffing, who played briefly on the PGA Tour. “He’s 65 years old and he shot 65,’’ Collins said. “I told him when we were playing, ‘You don’t understand how much fun this is for me.’ He said, ‘What do you mean?’

“I said, ‘just watching you play the game, watching you show me how the game is supposed to be played.’ He’s putting for birdies on every single hole. That was fun.’’

After watching Terry Collins close up for seven years managing the Mets I’m looking forward to the new Terry Collins Show.

45+ years, columnist at NY Post for the last 23 years prior to joining BallNine. Elected to the NY Baseball Hall of Fame. Former SportsTalk Host (KFMB), ESPN’s First Take and Cold Pizza contributor. Frequent guest on radio shows and podcasts nationwide. Author of seven books. Seen in episode 10 of ESPN’s “The Last Dance” (the one with Dennis Rodman). First baseball interview he conducted was with Thurman Munson. Now you know why he is America’s Most Beloved Sportswriter.

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