Beltran Hit A Curveball For That Ninth Inning Series Winning RBI

Game Four of the ALDS between the Red Sox and Astros was a just a bizarre game with many things you may not have seen before in a baseball game and some things may never see again in a game.  Both Chris Sale and Justin Verlander came into the game in relief, and both would give up the lead.  For that matter so would Craig Kimbrel.  To lead off the top of the ninth, Rafael Devers would hit an inside-the-park homer.

All of these things and many more of the events that happened in the game were truly remarkable.  However, there is one that stands out above the rest for Mets fans.

In the top of the ninth, the Astros were trying to add an insurance run to their 4-3 lead.  With runners on first and second and two outs, Astros manager A.J. Hinch would tab Carlos Beltran to pinch hit for designated hitter Evan Gattis.  With a 2-2 count against him, Beltran would foul off three straight pitches before hitting a curveball off the Green Monster for an RBI double extending the Astros lead to 5-3.  With Devers’ aforementioned inside-the-park homer in the bottom of the ninth, Beltran would have the game winning hit; a hit that came off of a curveball.  It should come as no surprise to Mets fans this was the first ninth inning RBI in Beltran’s illustrious postseason career.

While all of Houston rejoiced, Mets fans were once again shaking their heads with visions of a Beltran frozen by an Adam Wainwright curveball.

Throughout his career, Beltran has certainly earned a reputation for one of the greatest postseason hitters in Major League history.  When Cooperstown comes calling, one of the reasons for Beltran’s induction will be his October exploits.  Mets fans are certainly no stranger to them.

Many forget before that strikeout, Beltran had hit three homers in that series against the Cardinals.   The Mets don’t win Game One of that series, let alone get to a Game Seven without Beltran.  If the Mets won that Game Seven, it was truly a toss-up between him and Carlos Delgado as to who was going to be the NLCS MVP.  When Beltran dug in against Wainwright with a berth to the World Series on the line, it looked like it was going to be Beltran.

But it wasn’t.  And so a part of Beltran’s complicated legacy as a baseball player and a New York Met soon crystallized.

Beltran is one of the greatest postseason players in Major League history, but he didn’t even attempt to swing at a pitch that ended the World Series.  The Mets would never have gotten to that point without Beltran, but in reality, during his tenure with the Mets, the team was mostly disappointing with two emotionally crippling collapses in subsequent seasons.  Beltran was one of the greatest Mets to ever wear the uniform, but for some reasons, even before the strikeout, Mets fans never seemed to fully embrace him.

Regardless of the past, Beltran was a great Mets player, who absolutely gave it his all with the Mets.  He did all he could do to be a great player here and to ensure the Mets success.  Lost in his legacy was his immediately taking David Wright and Jose Reyes to workouts with him to show them what it took to be a great baseball player.

So yes, Beltran struck out looking against Wainwright, and he doubled off Kimbrel.  Mets fans were depressed, and all of Houston rejoiced.  Mets fans should be happy as well, and not just because a former Met won a game against a former Brave.

Beltran was a great Mets player who deserves our admiration and respect even if he wasn’t fully given it while he was a member of the Mets.  He was a great Met who did everything he could do to help them win.  He was a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, MVP caliber player the Mets have not seen from an outfielder before and have not seen since.  We should cheer for him when he finally gets that game winning series clinching hit, and we should want him to get that elusive World Series ring.

Sandy Better Get To Work

Yesterday, Odell Beckham, Jr. broke his leg as the Giants lost to go to 0-5.  It doesn’t matter how optimistic a Giants fan you are, the season is over.

The Rangers still have a talented group, but they got off to a 1-2 start.  One of the “highlights” of the young season is Alain Vigneault benching promising young player Filip Chytil for no other reason than he’s a young player.  There is still reason to believe the Rangers can make a run, but any excitement you would have is tempered by Terry Collins, sorry, AV, leading the way.

The Knicks, well, they are the Knicks.

If things continue this way, it promises to be a long winter until Spring Training begins.

Unless Sandy Alderson gets to work, it’s going to be a full year without hope.  He needs to build a bullpen beyond AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia.  There needs to be more on the infield than Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario.  There needs to be more starting pitching depth due to the injury histories of Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler.

There’s a lot to do here.  Hopefully Sandy does it.  If he doesn’t, it’s going to be a long year in the New York sports scene.

RIP Tom Petty

Part birthday gift, part checking items off our list of things we wanted to do before we became parents, I got tickets for my wife and I for the Tom Petty concert at the Beacon Theatre.

Little did I know it as I was paying far over market value for the tickets, it was a concert of deep tracks and covers.  It was Tom Petty exploring the music that influenced him and the like.

Originally, I got the tickets before my wife was pregnant.  Perhaps lying to ourselves, we went to the concert believing this was a new New York with much stricter enforcement of the smoking and “smoking” laws.  That simply wasn’t the case.  Fortunately, the Beacon Theatre was more than accommodating finding us a place to sit that was safe for a pregnant woman to watch the show.

While there, we did get to meet some celebrities.  I won’t mention the name, but my wife and I could not stop laughing at a popular television host at the time who wore purple velvet loafers.

Between my wife tiring while pregnant and just the overall concern she had, we were quick to leave the concert.  Due to the nature of the concert, we never did get the chance to hear Tom Petty sing his biggest hits.  From that point forward, everytime Tom Petty would come on the radio, we would joke about how we still haven’t heard Tom Petty play that song live.  As it turns out, we never will as Tom Petty passed away this week.

Call me insensitive, but with all the extra Tom Petty songs on the radio this past week, I would get a smile and a chuckle.  It makes me remember those purple loafers and never hearing that song in concert.  It also reminds me of a time before my son is born when it just my wife and I doing all the things we wanted to do.

In the end, the lesson with Tom Petty passing is to enjoy the time with your spouse not just before you have children, but after.  Make time for one another for these moments.  And, yes, make sure you go see these legends in concert before they die.  However, before you go, make sure they are playing all of their hits.

Wright With Another Surgery

The New York Mets announced David Wright has had yet another surgery to deal with the myriad of health issues he has had since first landing on the disabled list early in 2015:

Because of who he his, Wright came off as optimistic in his statement.  It’s not just the released statements.  When we see him interviewed, we may see him look more and more like a shell of his former self.  Really, the only thing recognizable is the smile on his face and the upbeat attitude.

How he can continue doing that is anybody’s guess.  With each thing that happens, everyone finds themselves running to Google to find out what exactly Wright had done.

I guess that as long as Wright believes in himself, we can still believe.  However, as fans we can have some distance.  We can be more realistic.  We may never see Wright play for the Mets again.

This isn’t exactly breaking news.  Rather, it’s increasingly becoming reality.  No matter what the case, the only hope we can have with Wright is that he is at peace in his career even if I personally never will be.

Defending Joe Girardi’s Sixth Inning

In one brutal sixth inning, everything seemed to go wrong for the Yankees leading many to blame Joe Girardi for the Indians rally that turned an 8-3 laugher into a tense 8-7 game. 

During that inning, Girardi’s decisions were questioned many times. Here’s why they were defensible:

Pulling Sabathia

Through 5.1 innings, CC Sabathia was at 77 pitches, and he had a five run lead. He seemed to be cruising having retired 12 of the last 13 batters. 

Certainly, this is a move worthy of second guessing, or is it?

This season, opposing batters are hitting .264/.347/.552 off Sabathia once Sabathia surpasses 75 pitches. It wasn’t a one year blip either. In 2016, batters hit .292/.358/.500 when Sabathia threw over 75 pitches. 

Looking at the numbers, pulling Sabathia was the right move.  That goes double when you consider Sabathia issued a lead-off walk to Carlos Santana to start that faithful sixth inning. You don’t want to open the door for the Indians to get things rolling. On top of that, you have a great bullpen. One that should’ve held onto a five run lead. 

Not Challenging a HBP

With a run already in and runners on second and third, pinch hitter Lonnie Chisenhall was hit by a pitch. Or was he?

Based on the replay, the ball appeared to hit the knob of the bat and not Chisenhall’s hand. First, everyone screamed for Girardi to challenge the play. Then, everyone went apoplectic Girardi didn’t challenge the play. 

The thing is that’s not Girardi’s call. 

There’s a system in place for challenges. Every team has a video to assess whether a challenge should be made. A manager does not have access to that or any video. That’s in accordance with MLB rules. 

Girardi didn’t blow it there.  The Yankees replay people did. 

And let’s not go down the road Girardi shouldn’t challenged because Gary Sanchez was emphatic. 

Players are always emphatic. They’re also wrong most of the time. If the manager relied solely on player reaction, teams would be pout if challenges before the bottom of the third. 

So no, this was not on Girardi. 

Sticking with Green Too Long

After Chisenhall was hit by the pitch, Francisco Lindor hit a grand slam off Chad Green to pull the Indians to within one run. This led to people questioning whether Girardi stick with Green too long. 

At the time of the grand slam, Green had faced three batters throwing 21 pitches. 

He got Austin Jackson to fly out, gave up a double to Yan Gomes, and he came within a blown call of striking out Chisenhall to end the inning. 

Green didn’t look good in that inning, and Lindor is a dangerous hitter who hit 33 homers this season. 

Green was also the Yankees best reliever this season posting a 1.83 ERA and a 0.739 WHIP. Sticking with him is certainly understandable. 

It’s also understandable fans judged the result of the Lindor grand slam as proof positive Girardi should have gone to David Robertson. Of course the people making this point are conveniently overlooking how Robertson would give up the game tying home run to Jay Bruce

It also overlooks Lindor is 1-2 with two walks off Robertson in his career. Small sample for sure, but it does highlight how Robertson can sometimes lose the strike zone. Not ideal when the bases are loaded. 

Also not ideal is the fact Robertson allowed 44.4% of inherited runners to score this season. 

Looking at the totality of the circumstances, it’s not as clear as to what Girardi should’ve done. 

Green is your best reliever. He came this close to getting out of it. He also didn’t look great leaving the door open for that rally. 

You could have been just as justified staying Green as you do with going to Robertson. On the one hand, you have your best reliever who is struggling. On the other is a good reliever who can have issues with walks and allowing inherited runners to score.

It’s fine to second guess Girardi there, but let’s not pretend this was as clear-cut as the Yankees replay team blowing the chance to challenge. 

In the end, Girardi made very defensible moves, and they didn’t work out. He was failed by his bullpen and replay team. 

Overall, that sixth inning was a nightmare for the Yankees, but by no means was that on Girardi. That was more on the bullpen. 

Trivia Friday – 2017 Mets Best Players

Well, the 2017 Mets failed in every way possible.  Part of it was injuries.  Part of it was Terry Collins managing.  Another part, and perhaps the biggest, was how the players performed.  There were a few good performances and some middling ones.  Can you name who the Mets best players were from the past season?  Good luck!


Michael Conforto Jacob deGrom Jay Bruce Yoenis Cespedes Addison Reed Juan Lagares Curtis Granderson Travis d’Arnaud  Lucas Duda Jose Reyes Seth Lugo Neil Walker Noah Syndergaard

Cubs And Red Sox Have Recently Won World Series Titles, Mets Haven’t

When I was talking with my Dad about the postseason, we were prattling off how most of the teams in the postseason haven’t won in quite some time:

  • Astros – Never
  • Nationals – Never
  • Rockies – Never
  • Indians – 1948
  • Dodgers – 1988
  • Twins – 1991
  • Diamondbacks – 2001
  • Yankees – 2009
  • Red Sox – 2013
  • Cubs – 2016

Just go back over that list again.

For nearly a century, the dream World Series matchup was Red Sox-Cubs. 1912 versus 1908. The Curse of the Bambino versus the Billy Goat Curse.

Then there was all of the Hall of Famers on both sides who never won a World Series. For the Cubs, you had absolute legends like Ernie Banks and Ferguson Jenkins.  The Red Sox had Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.

Throw in Fenway and Wrigley with the Green Monster and the ivy, this was the World Series to end all World Series because these were two teams pathologically incapable of winning World Series.

Until recently.

We know it all changed for the Red Sox with a Dave Roberts stolen base propelling the Red Sox to overcome an 0-3 ALCS deficit.  It would be a Kris Bryant homer to start the game winning rally in Game five of the World Series.  Before each of those moments, these were two franchises who seemed incapable of winning a World Series.  There was also a time the Mets would take full advantage.

In 1969, the Cubs went from Ron Santo clicking his heels to a black cat crossing their path.  We would then see Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman pitch the Mets to their first World Series title.

In 1986, Mookie Wilson hit a little roller up along first that got past Bill BucknerRay Knight scored the winning run en route to a Game 6 win and eventual World Series title.

Even in 2015, the Mets beat up on the Cubs.  Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom dominated them from the mound, and Daniel Murphy homered the Mets to the team’s fifth pennant.

Now, the Mets are behind both the Red Sox and the Cubs.  Now, it looks like the Mets who are the team that can’t win a World Series.

In 1988, Mike Scioscia hit a grand slam against Dwight Gooden.  In 1999, Kenny Rogers walked Andruw Jones with the bases loaded.  In 2000, Timo Perez didn’t run out a Todd Zeile fly ball that landed on top of the wall.  In 2006, So Taguchi homered off of Guillermo Mota, and yes, Carlos Beltran struck out looking against Adam Wainwright.  In 2015,  Jeurys Familia blew three saves with the help of Daniel Murphy overrunning a grounder and a way offline Lucas Duda throw.  Last year, it was Conor Gillaspie who hit a three run homer in the Wild Card Game.

In reality, the Mets aren’t cursed even with all that ensued after the Madoff scandal.  However, with each passing year, you can forgive fans for starting to feel this way.  It’s been 31 years since the Mets last won a World Series.  In those 31 years, the Mets have reached the postseason six times, and they were eliminated in excruciating fashion each time.

Again, the Mets are not cursed.  Still, it is depressing to now live in a world where the Red Sox and the Cubs have won a World Series more recently than the Mets.

Reason For Mets Fans To Root For A Yankees – Nationals World Series

You’d be hard pressed to find a Mets fan who’d even contemplate a Yankees-Nationals World Series. After a horrible season, certainly one of the five most disappointing in Mets history, a Yankees-Nationals World Series is about the last thing Mets fans need.

Or is it?

The Mets entered the 2017 season with a $155 million payroll, which was ranked twelfth in the majors. That number was a bit deceptive as it included David Wright‘ insured contract. After the 75% reimbursement for Wright’s contract, the Mets Opening Day payroll was $140 million. That would’ve bumped them down to 15th.

Really, a Mets team who had designs on winning a World Series had a middle tier payroll. A Mets team located in the largest media market in the world was middle of the pack in spending.

That’s fine if the Mets were well constructed, but as we knew at the time, they weren’t.

Now, with the Mets facing even bigger holes this offseason, the Mets are planning to . . . wait for it . . . cut payroll. Instead of the $155 (or $140) million mark, the Mets plan to cut payroll by $135 million. They’re doing this despite having even more holes to address this offseason.

The Mets need a second baseman, third baseman, and a rebuilt bullpen. They should also consider adding a fifth starter, center fielder, backup catcher, and a capable bench. How the Mets can do all of this with less money is anyone’s guess.

Based on how the Mets have been run during the Sandy Alderson era, it seems as if the bullpen and bench will be the two poorest constructed areas. The Mets have been able to address both in the past by making in-season trades. Those trades have helped deplete the farm system.

Overall, if the Mets are going to return to being World Series contenders, they’ll have to spend. That’s hard to do unless Sandy is given more money this offseason.

That brings us back to the original Yankees-Nationals World Series point.

As much as Mets fans do not want to see it, the Wilpons want to see it even less. Remember Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports noted the Mets were “not eager” to trade Jay BruceLucas Duda, or really anyone to the Yankees.  They didn’t want to have those players being the Mets.  More than that, they don’t want to see the Yankees in the spotlight.

Likely, they don’t want to see Daniel Murphy leading the Nationals to the World Series.  With everything Murphy has done since leaving the Mets, he makes the Mets look worse and worse.  Seeing Murphy having a third straight terrific postseason may be too much for this franchise to bear.  That goes double when you consider the Mets have a gaping hole at second base – one that could have been filled by Murphy if the Mets weren’t so eager to get rid of him.

If the Yankees and Nationals make the World Series, it would just rub salt in the Mets wounds.  On the American League side, you have a team the Mets cannot bear to see successful.  On the National League side, you have the Mets biggest competition in the division going to the World Series led by a former fan favorite.  That’s a lot for an image conscious ownership group to bear.

Who knows?  If that happens, maybe it will spurn the Mets to action.  We could actually see the Mets open up their pocketbooks to address the needs of this team.  Adding some players to a solid foundation of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Yoenis Cespedes, and Michael Conforto could very well propel this team back to where they were in 2015.

Then again, maybe the Mets don’t spend the money they need to fix this team.  If they’re not going to spend the money, then they deserve the indignity of seeing the Nationals and Yankees in the World Series.  They deserve to get their own personal worst case scenario.  The hope for Mets fans is it will be too much for them to bear that they will finally do something about it.

Former Mets In The Postseason

When determining which team to root for this postseason, the general rule of thumb is to root against the Mets rivals.  With the Mets making a number of trades this season, you could also root for teams according to their Mets connections:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

East – Boston Red Sox

Assistant Pitching Coach – Brian Bannister (2006)

Bannister made the Mets out if Spring Training in 2006. His tenure was short lived as he injured his hamstring, and Omar Minaya rebuilt the rotation in-season pushing a healthy Bannister out. He’d be moved that offseason in an ill-fated trade for Ambiorix Burgos.

RHP Blaine Boyer (2011)

Boyer pitched just five games for the Mets before leaving via free agency. He would not pitch in the majors again until 2014.

RHP Addison Reed (2015 – 2017)

Acquired on the eve of September, Reed quickly became an important seventh inning reliever on the Mets pennant winning team. He was even better the next season helping pitch the Mets back to the postseason. With Jeurys Familia‘s suspension and injury, Reed became an effective closer before being traded for a trio of Red Sox relief prospects at the trade deadline.

OF Chris Young (2014)

After a few down years, the Mets took a one year gamble on Young. He struggled all year, and he was released with the Mets eight games under .500 and 10.5 games back in the division. Since that time, Young has been a much more effective player.

Central – Cleveland Indians

First Base Coach Sandy Alomar, Jr. (2007 – 2009)

Alomar ended his playing career playing eight games with the Mets in 2007.  He would then begin his coaching career with the Mets serving two years as a special catching instructor.

RF Jay Bruce (2016-2017)

Bruce went from bust who struggled mightily after being acquired at the trade deadline last year to fan favorite this year. Fortunately for the Indians, Bruce wouldn’t repeat his struggles helping propel the Indians to 102 wins.

RHP Joe Smith (2007 – 2008)

Smith went straight from being a third round draft pick in 2006 to being a very good reliever for the Mets in two seasons.  Ironically, he moved as part the three team J.J. Putz trade intended to improve the Mets bullpen.

West – Houston Astros

DH Carlos Beltran (2005 – 2011)

Seeing him in the postseason again will certainly evoke memories of Adam Wainwright, but he was so much more than that in a Mets uniform.  Beltran was the best center fielder in Mets history and perhaps their best outfielder ever.

Juan Ceteno (2013 – 2014)

Ceteno is a strong defensive catcher who played just 14 games over two years before he was claimed off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Bench Coach Alex Cora (2009 – 2010)

Cora joined the Mets in the hopes of being an important utility player on a playoff caliber team.  Unfortunately, injuries and a ballpark ill-suited for the talents of the players on the roster brought that run to an end.

Hitting Coach Dave Hudgens (2011 – 2014)

Hudgens was the Mets hitting coach who was entrusted with helping the Mets adapt to a new ballpark.  While he was much embattled in the position, Mets offensive highlights during his tenure included Ike Davis hitting 30 homers and the last great season from David Wright.

Pitching Coach Brent Strom (1972)

Strom was the Mets 1970 first round draft pick.  He appeared in just one season with the team going 0-3 with a 6.82 ERA and a 1.615 WHIP.

Third Base Coach Gary Pettis (2003 – 2004)

Pettis served as the first base and outfield coach during the Art Howe Era.

Wild Card – New York Yankees

RHP Luis Cessa

Cessa was the other pitching prospect the Mets sent to the Tigers in the Yoenis Cespedes trade.

Wild Card – Minnesota Twins

Pitching Coach Neil Allen (1979 – 1983)

While Allen had a noteworthy Mets career of his own, he will forever be known as one of the two players traded by the Mets in exchange for Keith Hernandez.

RHP Bartolo Colon (2014 – 2016)

“Big Sexy” became a fan favorite and a mentor to the young pitchers in the clubhouse.  There are a number of highlights you can choose from his Mets career, but the one that keeps coming to mind was the unbelievable home run he hit in San Diego last year.

RHP Dillon Gee (2010 – 2015)

Gee is an example of a pitcher who has gotten everything out of his ability.  He has been resilient overcoming a number of injuries in his career with his career highlight possibly being his named the Mets 2014 Opening Day starter.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

East – Washington Nationals

OF Alejandro De Aza (2016)

De Aza had an interesting year with the Mets.  He was terrible to begin the year, and he then had a great July helping propel the Mets second half run to the Wild Card.

Pitching Coach Mike Maddux (1993 – 1994)

Maddux pitched two years for the Mets pitching to a 4.16 ERA as a reliever before departing via free agency.

2B Daniel Murphy (2008 – 2015)

Somehow Murphy has become one of the most divisive players among the Mets fanbase.  Many still fondly remember his for his time witht he Mets, especially his incredible NLDS and NLCS propelling the Mets to the pennant.  Others see a player who annihilates the Mets since leaving the team.

LHP Oliver Perez (2006 – 2010)

Believe it or not, there was a time where Perez was beloved for his Game 7 performance and his start the final game of the 2008 season.  He then fell off a cliff upon receiving a huge contract.  Things got so bad, he refused a minor league assignment, and his last appearance as a Met would be the team throwing him into the 14th inning on the last game of the season just to get the game over with.

Central – Cubs

Quality Control Coach Henry Blanco (2010)

“Hank White” was brought on as a defensive back-up, and he excelled in the role throwing out 50% of base stealers.

C Rene Rivera (2016 – 2017)

Rivera was a defensive specialist who helped Noah Syndergaard overcome his issues holding on base runners.  It was more than Syndergaard, Rivera served as a mentor for young starters Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman who helped pitch the Mets to the Wild Card.

West – Dodgers

Bench Coach Bob Geren (2012 – 2015)

Geren served as the bench coach for the Mets serving as a mentor for the Mets catchers.  Since his departure, we have seen Mets catchers regress in their pitch framing, and we have certainly seen Travis d’Arnaud regress in nearly every aspect of his game.

OF Curtis Granderson (2014 – 2017)

Granderson is one of the finest men to ever put on a Mets uniform.  He also came up biggest when the Mets needed him most.  Granderson kept the Mets afloat in 2015, and if not for some blown leads, he was in line to be the MVP of that series.  His big outburst to end the 2016 season helped lead the Mets back to the postseason.

3B Justin Turner (2010 – 2013)

Turner was an effective utility player in his years with the Mets who was really non-tendered because he was arbitration eligible.  Turner would find himself a home in Los Angeles where he has become a terrific player.

Third Base Coach Chris Woodward (2005 – 2006)

Woodward was a valuable utility player for the Mets for two seasons having the second best season of his entire career in 2005.

Wild Card – Diamondbacks

RHP Matt Koch (2012 – 2015)

Koch was one of the two minor league pitchers traded by the Mets for Addison Reed.  While Koch is on the 40 man roster, it is not expected he will be on the postseason roster.

Wild Card – Rockies

None

Based on the sheer volume of Mets affiliations, it would appear Mets fans would be pulling for the Astros in the American League and either the Nationals or Dodgers in the National League.  Considering the presence of Chase Utley on the Dodgers and the recent rivalry with the Nationals, most Mets fans will understandably choose rooting interests for different reasons all together.

 

Thanks For The Memories Terry Collins

Before the last game of the season, Terry Collins told us all what we were expecting.  He will not be returning as Mets manager.  While unnecessary, he was magnanimous in announcing he was stepping aside and taking himself out of consideration for the managerial position with his contract expiring.  The Mets rewarded him with how he’s handled himself in his seven years as manager and over these trying three days with a front office position.

In essence, Collins’ tenure with the Mets ended much in the way it started.  The Mets were bad and injured.  It was a circus around the team, and he was the face in front of the media left holding the bag.  What we saw in all of those moments was Collins was human, which is something we don’t always see in managers.

Part of being human is being emotional.  We’ve seen Collins run the gamut of emotions in those postgame press conferences.  And yes, we’ve seen him cry.  Perhaps none more so than when he had that gut wrenching decision to keep Johan Santana in the game and let him chase immortality.  In his most prescient moment as a manger, Collins knew he could’ve effectively ended a great players’ career, and yet, he couldn’t just sit there and rob his player of his glory.  In the end, that would be the defining characteristic in Collins’ tenure as manager.

He let Jose Reyes bunt for a single and take himself out of a game to claim the Mets first ever batting title.  He left Santana in for that no-hitter.  He initially let David Wright try to set his own schedule for when he could play until Wright all but forced Collins to be the adult.  Through and through, he would stick by and defer to his players, including but not limited to sending Matt Harvey to pitch the ninth.

Until the very end, Collins had an undying belief in his players, especially his veteran players.  It would be the source of much consternation among fans.  This was on more highlighted than his usage of Michael Conforto.  What was truly bizarre about Collins’ handling of Conforto wasn’t his not playing one of his most talented players, it was Collins had a penchant for developing players when he was interested.

In fact, that 2015 Mets team was full of players Collins developed.  You can give credit to Dan Warthen, but Collins deserves credit for helping that staff develop.  Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Jeurys Familia all developed into dominating pitchers under Collins guidance.

But it wasn’t just the heralded pitchers.  It may have taken some time, but Collins developed some other less heralded prospects into good Major League players.  Collins helped make Jon Niese, Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, Juan Lagares, and Wilmer Flores into significant contributors to a pennant winner.  It wasn’t just those players.  Collins seemingly brought out the best in all of his players.

With the exception of Murphy, you’d be hard-pressed to find a player who performed better after leaving the Mets.  Ruben Tejada, Eric Young, Ike Davis, Josh Thole, R.A. Dickey, and Marlon Byrd regressed after leaving the Mets.  Really, you can pick you player, and the chances are those players were not the same after playing for a different manager.

Because of his managing, Mets fans saw things they never thought they’d see.  A knuckleball pitcher won 20 games and a Cy Young.  A Mets player won a batting title.  There was actually a Mets no-hitter.  Despite the Madoff scandal, the Mets got back to a World Series.

Through all of our collective hand wringing over his managing, we have all tended to lose sight of that.  Collins got the best out of his players.  It’s why we saw the rise of that team in a dream like 2015 season, and it’s why the Mets fought back so fiercely in 2016 to make consecutive postseasons.

And in those moments, Collins celebrated with his team . . . and the fans.  More than anyone who has ever been a part of the Mets, Collins treated the fans with respect.  He returned their affection.  That was no more apparent than that improbable run in 2015:

It was more than the celebrating.  Collins was there to console grieving widows and take time out for sick children who just had heart transplants.  At his core, Collins is a good and decent man.  It may be that part of his personality which allowed him to get the most out of his players. It helps you overlook some of his shortcomings.

Certainly, Collins has left behind many reliever careers in his wake.  Names like Tim Byrdak and Scott Rice are just footnotes in Mets history, and that is because Collins over used his relievers.  This was just one aspect of his poor managing.  There were many times where he left you scratching your head.  It was his managing that helped cost the Mets the 2015 World Series.

However, as noted, the Mets would not have gotten there if not for Collins.  To that end, we all owe him a bit of gratitude for that magical season.  We owe him gratitude and respect for how he has treated the fans.

He did that more than anyone too because he ends his career as the longest tenured manager in Mets history.  When he was hired no one expected him to last that long.  Yet, it happened, and despite all of his faults, the Mets were better off for his tenure.  In the end, I respected him as a man, and I appreciated what he did for this franchise.

I wish him the best of luck, and I’ll miss him.  My hope is that whoever replaces him is able to capture the best of the man.  Those are certainly huge shoes that are not easily filled.  Mostly, I hope he’s at peace at what was a good run with the Mets, and I wish him the best of luck in his new role.