It hasn't been made official yet, but various sources, including David Lennon and Bob Klapisch have tweeted that Terry Collins has been selected as the new manager for the New York Mets.
Given that tomorrow is owner Fred Wilpon's 74th birthday, Sandy Alderson has given Right Said Fred an early birthday present, although Mr. Wilpon has claimed to be too sexy for his new manager.
Considering that Alderson made it clear that his preference was to sign a manager with major league experience, the managerial race was basically a two-man contest between Terry Collins and Art Howe-lite (Bob Melvin).
In Terry Collins, the Mets have a manager who led his teams (Astros, Angels) to five consecutive second place finishes from 1994-1998. However, he never won the wild card and never won more than 85 games in a season.
Then came the 1999 season, when Collins didn't finish #2, but made his players feel like #2. That was the year when Collins became vilified in Anaheim by his players.
A manager is supposed to lead his team and keep them together through good times and bad. During the 1999 season, the Angels suffered through injuries and poor play. Constant player bickering brought more tension into the clubhouse. Collins did nothing to diffuse the situation. In fact, when he started benching players left and right while word of a contract extension became public, the players demanded that Collins be removed from his position.
Under pressure from his players, Collins resigned with 29 games left in the season, finishing his last season in Anahaim with a 51-82 record.
Now Collins comes to manage a team with a recent history of injuries in a city with a huge media presence. If he loses control of this team, he may not even make it to the 133-game mark, at least in the eyes of the fans.
Second place might have been good enough for five years in Houston and Anaheim, but New York is a city that demands excellence. Davey Johnson never finished a full season below second place, yet he was run out of town in 1990. Although the Mets are not expected to do much in 2011, perhaps saving Collins if the team finishes in fourth place for a third consecutive season, Collins will be on a short leash if the Mets do not improve in 2012.
Welcome to New York, Terry Collins. It's up to you if you want the cheers to last past Opening Day.