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.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. 86mets June 12, 2011 at 6:52 pm
    First of all, why is Johnson chiming in on this in the first place? While his points have some validity, he’s not in the dugout or working with Bay anymore. Secondly, one only needs look at what HoJo did to “help” Bay last season before he suffered the concussion. Since Bay struggled under Johnson also, it’s the “pot calling the kettle black” syndrome in this situation.

    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.

  2. LEONIDES SANTIAGO June 12, 2011 at 10:15 pm
    Let me get this straight Bay is part of the solution 212-2-11 across the board please! Turner, Thole and soon Tajeda will have more RBI’S. If the Mets could somehow eat some of his contract and get rid of him, that would be the solution Hojo! Collins do your job and keep him off the field, he is killing this team.
  3. T June 13, 2011 at 6:56 am
    The title of that article should have been, “Why HoJo is no longer the Mets hitting coach”
  4. CatchDog June 13, 2011 at 9:00 am
    Aaron Rowand signed a 5 year 60 mil contract back in 08 with the Giants. The last 3 years (2010, 11, 12), he’s owed 13.6 mil a season. Because of Rowand’s regression, he’s been a bench piece, playing in just 105 games last season. Had the Giants continued to play him last year, instead of Andres Torres, perhaps they don’t win a Championship.

    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.

  5. George June 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm
    Okay, first of all, Collins is absolutely right in what he’s doing, but that absolutely does NOT mean that Bay is a benchpiece. Say whatever you want; Bay’s been struggling, not hitting, whatever; but he’s definitely not washed up. He’s still in great shape, an above-average left fielder, and his mere knowledge of the game, even if he’s not part of it, puts him on a whole different level than other players. Thing is, fans only see him for his bat, but that $66 million contract got us someone with a whole lot more to offer than his RBIs. However much time it takes for him to break out of this slump, I think it should be given to him.
    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.
  6. Alex June 13, 2011 at 3:19 pm
    I wouldn’t be shocked if the “facts” Collins are talking about have something to do with Bay actually asking for a few days off to try to get his head right, or at least Bay concurring with management’s idea/decision to give him a few days off. I also think HoJo is misreading Bay’s 2 days out of the lineup as a benching – in fact, Lucas Duda and Jason Pridie both played well in Bay’s absence, yet they didn’t extend his benching. Plus, Bay got a hit in each of the 2 games since he came back, plus a RBI sac-fly yesterday, indicating that maybe Terry knows what he’s doing.
  7. JoMama June 13, 2011 at 3:34 pm
    This one was a layup, the “mysterious facts” are clear as day – fact is, with Bay in the lineup, the Mets are a worse team and he’s an easy out. Fact enough HoJo? I love the guy too but he’s way out of line here and should keep to himself – in the game we lost to the Pirates, had Bay not been 0-fer (again), we would have probably won the game. No matter where you put him in the lineup, he’s a complete and utter disaster at the plate.

    @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.