Due to MLB's coronavirus hiatus, Mets manager Luis Rojas has still yet to manage his first game in the big leagues, something he's undoubtedly been dreaming of for quite some time.
A baseball lifer, Rojas grew up around the game (including being ejected from a minor league dugout when he was just seven years old), and he's worked his way up through the minor leagues to reach the big job with the Mets.
Rojas' time with the Mets organization is now going on 13 years, as he was first hired as a coach of their Dominican League team in 2007, but former Mets skipper Terry Collins believes Rojas' knowledge of both the game and of the players in the Mets' system, will suit him well in his new role as manager.
"It means a lot because you are looking down the road at guys that are going to be called up, [Rojas] is going to know those guys, he is going to know their personalities," Collins told Mike Puma of the New York Post. "But the other thing it does, when you bring a player in and he doesn't know you very well, because he hasn't been around you, a veteran guy, they are going to ask the young guys, 'Tell me about this manager.' They are going to draw their own conclusions, but you have people in there who say, 'Hey, look, he is good to play for.'"
Collins, who managed the Mets for seven seasons that included a run to the 2015 World Series, has gotten to know Rojas very well over the years.
And even during this year's spring training (before it was suspended), Collins was able to see Rojas as the Mets manager up close and in person, and he certainly likes what he's seen to this point.
"I think he's got very good knowledge of the game, but he's calm," Collins told The Post. "I watched him run his teams and run games in the minor leagues and he had control of his players, but he had control of himself. He just slows the game down for himself, he doesn't make rash decisions and today's game in the minor leagues is tough, because your lineups are dictated today, but his players all liked him and they all played hard for him.
"I saw him take guys out of games when they didn't hustle and they didn't make a big deal about it. I think his demeanor will be good for the guys in New York because he's got basically a little bit of a veteran club and the one thing those veteran guys don't want, they don't want somebody who is so intense and so in on every move. You have got to let those guys play a little bit and I think Louie is a good example of that."
Major League Baseball and the Players Association continue to go through negotiations for a shortened 2020 season, and there is optimism that a deal will be reached, with the hope of resuming spring training in June and starting games in early July.
If and when that happens, Rojas will finally manage his first game in the bigs, and he'll have plenty of support, including from Collins.