Terry Collins has been down this road before, where a team is playing out the final months of a disappointing season and attitudes are on the cliff of hopelessness. The Mets would seem to be at that point.
After an 8-0 loss to the red-hot Dodgers on Sunday night, the Mets are 49-60 and losers of four straight and seven of their last eight. It’s a time when players could start to care more about themselves than the team or — even worse — not care at all.
Collins has vowed that won’t happen with the Mets because he knows how disastrous a late-season collapse can be.
“I’ve told every coach that I have lived this before,” Collins said before the game. “I lived this in 1999 when I resigned in Anaheim. We were supposed to win. We had a ton of injuries. We got behind and we couldn’t catch up.”
The Mets insist they haven’t quit, though the score Sunday might have looked like it. Starter Steven Matz gave up three runs in the first inning after a replay erased what would have been the third out. The home team looked lifeless after that early and didn’t put up much of a fight, managing just one hit and two base runners as the Dodgers feasted on Mets’ pitching.
A few more games like this and Collins might be reliving ’99, when he had little choice but to resign after the Angels began pointing fingers at each other and rebelled against his leadership. It began that May when players went to management to object about Collins getting a contract extension. It got worse as the season spiraled out of control.
The players publicly accused each other of being soft, not taking losing hard enough and being unprofessional. Collins was criticized for spending too much time in his office and not enough time working the clubhouse, talking to his players and building the kind of relationships that could withstand adversity. Collins resigned on Sept. 4, 1999, replaced by interim manager Joe Maddon.
Collins figured he might not get a chance to manage again until Sandy Alderson called him before the 2011 season to lead the Mets. After four losing seasons, he took the Mets to the World Series in 2015 and a wild-card playoff in 2016.
Big things were expected this year before injuries to key players like David Wright, Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Neil Walker derailed any chance to keep pace with the Nationals.
Losing three games to the Dodgers this weekend hasn’t helped matters, but Collins is confident he isn’t going to…