Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Terry Collins was in the first days of his final chance when he agreed to meet me at a Bob Evans restaurant in Port St. Lucie, Fla. It was a brisk February morning in 2011, and I was assigned to write a feature about the new manager.
After several losing seasons, the Mets were at the beginning of a rebuilding process -- and everyone knew that Collins would be long gone by the time they started winning again, if not sooner. He was 61, had flamed out spectacularly in two previous jobs, and had a reputation as one of the most tightly wound old-schooler in the game. "There's no way he makes it through the season," said one of the other writers after his introductory news conference, and it seemed like a reasonable prediction.
But the Collins who sat with me that morning, ignoring a bowl of oatmeal while talking a mile a minute, was not angry. He was simply excited -- more excited about a baseball season than anyone I'd ever seen. He locked me into intense eye contact when making the case for Mike Pelfrey as his opening day starter, and stabbed the air with an index finger while breaking down Daniel Murphy's swing. He went through the entire roster, like it was the most important subject anyone had ever discussed...