Howard Johnson Rips Terry Collins, Collins Rips Back
In an article in the New York Post, Howard Johnson had critical words for Terry Collins and his benching of Jason Bay:
“It’s ridiculous it’s come to that,” the former Mets hitting coach said by phone yesterday. “If he’s supposed to be part of the solution, I don’t see the point of taking him out of the equation. It’s sending him mixed messages. I don’t care if he’s 0-for-50, you’re not going to get him relaxed by taking him out of the lineup.”
Jason has to be able to understand what the goal is of what you’re doing. And he at least has to know that he’s going to be playing.”
“All those previous home runs got him paid, and he feels a certain pressure to do that now and the only way to get him out of this is to get him in the lineup every day.”
“The only way he shouldn’t be playing is if he’s tired or hurt … The only way to fix it is to let him play. What do they have to lose?”
Collins was none too pleased with HoJo’s words, and responded, suggesting that HoJo didn’t have “all the facts”:
“As soon as I showed up at the ballpark today, I was slapped in the face with Howard Johnson telling us we should play him and not bench him,” Collins said. “I don’t really call it a benching. I would call it more of a time off kind of thing. The other thing, and I think the world of Howard Johnson, but he hasn’t got all the facts. So he should be careful what he actually says when he doesn’t have all the facts.”
On the one hand, HoJo’s comments could be seen somewhat as “sour grapes”, since HoJo was unceremoniously relieved of his duties as hitting coach. And, I get the theory that Bay can only get out of the slump by playing and hitting his way out of it. Finally — and this is really the gist of HoJo’s point — a player who believes he has to hit to stay in the lineup could put undue pressure on himself when he does get in the game, creating tension and more bad at-bats.
On the other hand, I can also see Collins’ perspective — benching Bay for a couple games might have been part of his attempt to do anything and everything to get Bay going.
But what really intrigues me is “all the facts”. What are these mysterious facts? Is Bay hurting? Was there some kind of exercise applied while Bay was on the bench watching? Was the benching issued by powers above Collins?
Inquiring minds want to know! What is your guess — to what “facts” might Collins be referring? Post your ideas in the comments.
Collins has every, and I mean, EVERY right to be pissed at Johnson’s comments. First, Collins approached Bay about taking a couple of games off to clear his mind and make sure he understood the rationale behind it. Secondly, Bay, at least publicly, agreed with the decision so it’s not like this is some sort of player-manager controversy here.
I have always admired Howard Johnson and he was one of my favorite Met players growing up. I also feel like he might not have been treated with enough respect in regards to his dismissal from his job. However, HoJo is in the wrong here and needs not to turn this into something it’s not.
Barry Zito and his 18.5 million dollar contract was not on the Giant’s postseason roster.
You’ve got to play the best guys if you want to win.
As for the question of what “facts” Collins says HoJo doesn’t know, I think that’s just something he said in the spur of the moment. With the popularity of Bay, and the fact that he’s in New York, I don’t think there’s much people don’t know, especially someone like Johnson, who may have sources we don’t. Collins was very offended at the comments, and this is the only thing he could’ve said to nullify those comments and not make it a big deal.
@George: are you related to Bay or something? As much as I dislike all the negative attention Bay is receiving, call a spade a spade. The team’s worse off when he’s in the lineup, no matter how you spin it. You’re going to tout his “knowledge” and “great shape” as reasons to keep this $66M bust in the lineup? Really? Do you watch the games? Bat him up and down the order, the guy is lost and not looking to regain any form. How much longer do you suggest keeping him in there? How many times have you seen him wiff at an off-speed pitch with men on? Come on man, see things for what they are – Bay tries and hustles but that’s about it. Right now, any of our bench players (and probably a handful in AAA) puts us in a better position to win and that, above all else, is the most important aspect to consider.