You know you’ve just taken a tough job when, in your introductory press conference, you feel compelled to clarify that you’re not “an evil devil.” Here is new Mets manager Terry Collins, earlier today:
“I’m full of energy, full of enthusiasm but I’m not the evil devil that a lot of people have made me out to be,” said Collins, the 20th manager in team history.
“I’ve learned to mellow a little bit…but my love for the game itself leads me to want the game to be played correctly.”
“This is a very proud day for me. I love this job, I love this game, and I will do whatever it takes to bring success to the New York Mets. The personality is there, the energy is there. All we have to do is execute.”
Yeesh… managing. I certainly wouldn’t go so far as to call it a “thankless”job – the pay is good enough – but it’s sure a tough one. Everything you do and say is scrutinized and criticized; you’re ostensibly the boss of people making many more millions a year than you but have limited power to hire or fire anyone; even if you do every single thing perfectly you’re unlikely to add more than a handful or wins to your team’s total, but every move that doesn’t work out is considered the main reason and a game is lost. And it’s an even tougher job with the Mets right now, a team whose fanbase has utterly exhausted all its patience in the last four years. It’s hard to see how the Mets would be able to dramatically turn things around in 2011, and it’s hard to see that going over well with the crowd at Shea.
Better him than me.
(Which always gets me wondering… think there’ll ever be a female manager? Maybe one day, but I have to say, it’s hard to imagine how it would happen – not because a woman couldn’t do the job, but because the managerial pipeline is almost entirely former players. You don’t have to have been a good player, but the vast, vast majority of managers throughout major league history played professionally, even if just in the minors. I can see the path a female GM might take, and I’d think that will happen one of these years – or decades – but manager is tought. And of course, there’s a reason most managers are former players — presumably that gives them insight into the game and their personnel that others wouldn’t have. But I have to believe that if women can be neurosurgeons, rocket scientists, and Secretary of State, then probably there are women who can figure out when to hit-and-run).
Anyway, the situation Terry Collins finds himself in makes me think Joe Girardi has it pretty good, even though Yankee manager has to be one of the country’s ultimate ulcer-inducing positions. And I wouldn’t want to be the guy who eventually, one day, has to sit down with Derek Jeter and tell him he’s batting seventh. Those guys get paid well, but the more I think about it? Probably not enough.