Terry Collins said that with a smile at his introductory press conference today, but it’s no coincidence that he addressed, even briefly, any concerns that his fiery personality could work against him. (He brings energy, he said, but added that he’s learned to mellow a bit over the years.) This being an introductory press conference, Collins’s remarks included the usual mix of clichés and optimism. (Sample quote: “This is a very proud day for me. I love this job. I love this game. And I will do whatever it takes to bring success to the New York Mets and win more ballgames. And we want to be the last team standing next October.”) But he did field a couple questions about some of the potential concerns associated with a man last seen (as a big-league manager, at least) losing a clubhouse in Anaheim eleven years ago.
When asked during the press conference about returning to a big-league managerial job after eleven years, he noted that he’s worked in the Dodgers and Mets organizations since then and has also managed in Japan, adding that “I’ve watched, I’ve learned, and there hasn’t been a game that I [have watched] in the last seven or eight or nine or ten years that I didn’t manage.” As for that 1999 Angels team, he said later in an interview with SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt that he believes that managers should be held accountable — “The stuff that happened in the clubhouse, it was my responsibilty to head that off. I didn’t do that” — and that it taught him he needs to be able to communicate with his team, and that he needs to be accessible to his players.
Other points emphasized during the press conference and subsequent SNY interview: “fundamentals” (including defense, base running, and bunting), avoiding overmanaging and letting the players “do their jobs,” and staying healthy as a team. Of course, that last point, especially, is easier said than done.