I agree 100 % with Terry Collins that Luis Castillo should have gotten to camp early since his job is on the line. You would think a guy who the majority of Mets fans look at with distain and a big part of the failures of past management knowing that there are three guys lining up every morning in St Lonesome, auditioning for the manager to be the next Mets 2nd base Idol. No matter which side of the Castillo fence you fall on, every Mets fan has to agree that at this stage of his baseball career, Castillo cannot just waltz into camp with a cavalier attitude that was tolerated in years past in this organization. Whereas Castillo would have been met with and hug and a laugh by management in the past he will now be greeted with a “Where the fuck have you been”? It’s about time.
My doubts about Terry Collins are starting to lessen. When I met him at the Mets Christmas Party the first questioned I had for him was about getting this team to be more aggressive and passionate and to stop being patsies for the division. I told Collins in my opinion, every team in the NL East thinks of the Mets as a bunch of chumps, how do you change that mind set? Collins assured me that was one of the first things he wanted to change. He tried not to disparage his predecessor but he said he agreed with me about the team allowing the opposition to intimate them and it will be a big part of his job to change that immediately. From reading John Harper’s story today, it looks like Collins has started his one for all all for one campaign:
Indeed, the new manager of the Mets thinks it’s important to instill some toughness, some brothers-in-arms spirit, in his ballclub. Remember the famous Chase Utley take-out slide of Ruben Tejada last September? The one the Mets took without retaliation?
Collins wouldn’t have stood for such a passive response.
“In Philly there would have been a fight,” he said Friday, “no doubt about it.”
Collins made it clear he wasn’t looking to criticize Jerry Manuel when I asked him Friday how he would have handled such a situation. In fact, he said a manager always walks a fine line on such matters, as not all players respond well to being put in a position where retaliation is expected.
“But there’s still an unwritten code about how to protect your teammates,” Collins said. “So I do believe in situations like that, there’s a right way to handle it.
“And that’s something that starts right here in spring training. That’s going to be part of my message on Monday when I speak to the team. We’re going to bring a team together and we’re going to watch each other’s backs.”