Terry Collins

Quote of the Day: Buster Olney on Terry Collins

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I’ve read a bunch of Terry Collins reactions this morning. Most of them aren’t all that insightful, frankly, because the guy just doesn’t have a recent track record anyone can grab onto. He’s intense. Some players who are now in their mid-40s didn’t much care for him. Hard to really find any traction with that.

Of all of them, though, I liked Buster Olney’s the best.  Olney is a writer with New York experience but, since he’s not a New Yorker, has a pretty good perspective on the press scene there. At the same time, he watched Collins in the minor leagues and after he took over the Angels.  His take:

Lest there be any doubt, Collins is more than smart enough to adapt. He certainly will recognize the pitfalls as he starts out. The question is whether he’s changed enough to survive. One thing is almost certain: Terry Collins, as good a baseball man as there is, will be an overwhelming success or a complete disaster.

And that’s based on not just Collins, but the New York environment, which I think he nails: it’s not that everything is So Much More Important in New York. It’s that everything — no matter how insignificant it actually is — is treated like it’s so much more important.  And I agree with that “success or failure; no middle ground” thing.  No matter what happens, I imagine that there will be fairly strong feelings about the guy two years from now, as opposed to general, apathetic Jerry Manuel misery.

And that’s an improvement, right?

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.