Friday, July 20, 2012
Terry Collins came into the job with the right mentality. He had just been hired as manager of the New York Mets on a brisk, November morning in 2010. Signing a two-year contract, Collins knew what he was getting into. He had just signed up to manage a team that was not heading in the right direction. The Mets had gone from having the best record in ’06 (97 wins) to having 79 wins in ’09. Collins knew that he would have to turn the team around or he would have the same fate as Jerry Manuel, whom Collins was replacing. In 2011, Collins led a team that was predicted last by Sports Illustrated to a forecasted 77 wins, astounding even new GM Sandy Alderson who did not believe his team would hit that level of success. Even though Terry had not led the team to more wins than in ’ 09, Sandy still wanted to keep him around. He liked what he saw in Collins. Terry took advantage of this opportunity by telling the Mets that they can be contenders and that we can “prove everybody wrong”. Well, those words of motivation have helped the Mets this year as again Sports Illustrated predicted them last in the NL East. Even so, the Mets stormed out of the gates and were 46-40 heading into the break. But then, a familiar foe showed up again.
In 2007, the Mets looked like they were going to make the playoffs for the second consecutive year for only the second time in franchise history. As September approached, the Mets had an 8 and ½ game lead over the number two team, the Phillies. Most would say that the division was locked up barring and fatal collapse in the final month of the year. Then it happened. The Mets started to fall on their faces. Losing games, bad starting pitching, and even worse hitting created the perfect storm. That 8 and ½ game lead started shrinking by the day. Mets lose. Phillies win. Mets lose. Phillies win. This pattern continued until the end of September, where the Mets saw themselves looking up at the Phillies, not down. They had just had the worse September collapse of any team in the last 100 years. They ended up losing the Wild-card spot, completing the awful month. Ever since that September, the Mets have never been as close to making the playoffs. In fact, they even collapsed the next year in September, but only losing and 5 game lead this time. Over the years, the negatives of the Mets have been bigger then positives. Since 2010, they have had a winning record in the first half of the year, only to slump in the second half, losing their swagger, and looking up at more and more teams in the East. That’s exactly what it’s looked like this year. Out of the All-Star Break, the team went 0-5, fall to 7 games behind the Nationals.