Terry Collins Has to Be More Than Big Words

Holding a team meeting after a loss matters less than avoiding the loss.

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Apr 14, 2011  |  Updated 8:15 AM EDT
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Terry Collins Has to Be More Than Big Words

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Does he have this much trouble with coffee or tea?

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Terry Collins held a team meeting after the Mets dropped their sixth game in the last seven on Wednesday night.

We like to assume that every baseball team meeting features extensive use of lollygagger, although we know that's wishful thinking. Collins essentially told the world what he told the team during their brief visit behind closed doors.

"We've been in every game and we've got to start winning 'em," Collins said. "We're one pitch away and we're one swing away from being 9-2, and we're not. But the next 11 we need to be 9-2. We need to get it going and do the things we haven't done so far."

Hard to argue with that message, although Collins might want to stop short of making statements about exact records in the games to come. He also might want to start taking a little more active role in stopping his team from losing.

In the fifth inning on Wednesday night, the Rockies had runners on second and third with nobody out and Troy Tulowitzki coming to the plate. Tulo had two hits off of Jon Niese already and hit a homer on Monday to help beat the Mets.

That moment screams for an intentional walk so that Jose Lopez is the guy forced to beat you, but Collins let Niese face Tulowitzki. The at-bat ended with a ball sailing over the fence in right and the Mets were on their way to another loss.

It's laudable that Collins chose to show faith in Niese during that spot. He did the same by sticking with defensively challenged Lucas Duda over the weekend late in a winnable game and got burned the same way.

Laudable stuff, but it completely undermines the other message he tried to send his team. If you're going to lament the way that one play is standing in the way of winning games, you can't stick with players in the face of making moves that increase your team's chances of winning games.

Collins has tried to inject the Mets with a new attitude of hard work and toughness that is welcomed after the lack of accountability in previous years. But there's no way to slice things up that makes hard work and toughness a substitute for good play and good decisions.

Or, really, any decisions. Collins has punted too many times in this young season and needs to start being the leader that this team hasn't had for far too many years.

Anything less than that makes all the locker room meetings in the world little more than sound and fury signifying nothing.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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