The last day of the MLB regular season always features a few managerial changes. Often they happen on Monday, if they’re firings; teams get them in before the playoffs start and the commissioner’s office imposes an embargo on non-playoff news.
Today, a somewhat surprising report from Ken Rosenthal (of The Athletic!) broke that Terry Collins was leaving the Mets dugout, but not the Mets organization:
Terry Collins will announce after game he is resigning as #Mets manager, staying with club in front-office role, source tells The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 1, 2017
Collins was a bit cryptic before the news broke, as reported by ESPN:
“It’s baseball,” Collins said pregame, before word of his departure spread. “I’ve spent my whole life in it. There’s good days, bad days, good years and bad years. You have to be able to deal with them all. You can’t just ride the wave all the time. You have to move on.”
When Collins and Phillies manager Pete Mackanin exchanged lineup cards at home plate, the two men hugged before walking away.
Collins’ contract is up at season’s end, and there was no indication that the team was going to extend his deal. Collins, 68, had earlier said that he didn’t plan on retiring.
That was after a Newsday report that said Mets ownership was divided on the fate of Collins.
On Friday, Newsday reported that owner Fred Wilpon repeatedly protected Collins from being fired, even as his son, Jeff Wilpon, the team’s chief operating officer, and general manager Sandy Alderson sought his dismissal on several occasions during Collins’ seven-year tenure.
Collins will presumably take an advisor or special assistant role, although the fact that Sandy Alderson was apparently one of the people who wanted him gone a few times over the years means it could be a bit awkward. But since their 2015 World Series appearance, the Mets have fallen back a bit, losing last season’s NL Wild Card game to the Giants, and finishing this year with more than 90 losses and finishing near the bottom of a truly horrendous division. That’s despite preseason projections that had them in the thick of the playoff hunt.
It makes sense that the Mets would want a change, but it’s also a bit unfair to think that any other manager would have been able to pull such an injury-depleted roster to much greater heights than this in 2017. But, hey, like Collins said, that’s baseball.