By Ernie Palladino
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If Terry Collins wanted to, he could regard November as something less than his favorite month.READ MORE: Strome, Panarin Lead Rangers To Win Over Blackhawks
On Nov. 1, he officially finished second in the World Series.
And yet, it’s a good bet that the 66-year-old Mets skipper doesn’t give a wit about November. Nobody knows better than him that there are worse things in baseball — certainly in life — than losing the World Series and coming in behind a couple of managerial whizzes from the NL Central like Mike Matheny and this year’s winner, Joe Maddon.
After all, Matheny took his Cardinals to 100 wins. And Maddon, already a two-time winner in the American League with the 2008 and ’11 Rays, won 97 games with a young Cubs team that wasn’t supposed to do more than fetch water for the rest of the division.
There’s no shame coming in third to those guys.
Besides, Collins has always impressed as one of those guys who would rather have his team collect a piece of fabric to fly over the stadium than grab a personal piece of hardware, himself.
For the record, Collins recorded 49 total points — three first-place votes, seven seconds, and 13 thirds — from the national voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. That came in well behind Maddon’s 124 points and Matheny’s 87. And in truth, if one thinks about it, Maddon’s feat was far greater than Collins’, as the Cubs won all those games in the toughest division in baseball.
Had the voting encompassed the postseason, Collins might well have won. The voting takes place at the end of the regular season, though, so an unlikely run to the World Series that included a pennant-winning sweep of Maddon’s Cubs counted for nothing.
Tough break. But Collins has gone through tougher in a 2015 season that must, by all measure, go down as his most trying but memorable of a long career.READ MORE: New York Weather: CBS2’s 12/5 Sunday Morning Forecast
He lost his father in spring training.
He saw one starter after another pitch his heart out and lose by a run, saw captain David Wright go down for most of the season. Through it all, he kept his team’s morale up as they hung off the Nationals’ shoulder.
When Sandy Alderson finally gave him another weapon in the person of Yoenis Cespedes, he protected those home run-fueled leads by managing a suspect core of middle relievers forced into action by pitch and innings limits on Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard.
When Scott Boras stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and proclaimed to the world that Collins and Alderson would put Harvey in danger with a postseason workload, well, he handled that, too.
Cries for his job, the pressures brought on by four years of losing, they never affected him. He simply went about the work of managing a stellar, young rotation and a so-so lineup until Cespedes, Juan Uribe, and Kelly Johnson came in and changed the offensive landscape.
It all added up to the best managing job of Collins’ career, especially during the bad times.
Was it the best in the league?
No. Maddon did that.
But it was Collins who wound up in the World Series.
Bet that Collins would prefer that to a Manager of the Year plaque any day of the week.MORE NEWS: LaVine, DeRozan Lead Bulls To Win Over Nets
Follow Ernie on Twitter at @ErniePalladino