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A Little Incident

Is Terry Collins well-organized? Or too intense?

Amid that rather pointless (for now) debate, I found this article [1] by Adam Rubin at ESPN New York reassuring, with the likes of Josh Thole, Nick Evans and Dillon Gee saying pretty much exactly what you’d hope would be said.

There was just one small problem. If you haven’t read the article, click it and read it and see if you can find where you get worried. Go on. I’ll wait.

OK. For me at least, it was right here:

The Mets had a longstanding policy in which minor league players had to wear their pants legs high, like the old-time players did to expose their stirrups. Collins fought to have that policy ended.

“He battled for all of the players,” Thole said. “He went to [chief operating officer] Jeff [Wilpon], and had meeting after meeting with Jeff, just to try to get that rule changed — just to say, ‘Go out and relax and enjoy yourself when you play.’ “

He had meeting after meeting with Jeff, just to get a rule about stirrups changed?

Next time the Mets protest that Jeff Wilpon is treated unfairly and portrayed incorrectly, I’d like them to explain how Josh Thole — who seems smart enough not to consciously slag the owner in the press — had that wrong. Because that sure seems like pointless ticky-tacky micromanagement, like hamstringing decision-making, like the kind of thing that would make an organization sclerotic and dysfunctional and ridiculed by the rest of the sport. It sure seems to fit with a lot of stories we’ve been told are unfair.

I wrote yesterday that regarding Terry Collins, we ought to admit that people can learn and change. I also wrote that one of the heartening things about the arrival of the Alderson regime is that Sandy Alderson is too old, too well-paid and has too many better things to do to take shit from Jeff Wilpon.

I didn’t elaborate on it then, but that was actually meant as a left-handed compliment to the Wilpons. Because they have to know that about Sandy Alderson too. And if they know that and accept it, that’s a sign that they too are learning and changing — or at least know they have to. For which I applaud them, sincerely and without the usual helping of bloggy snark.

But we’ve heard this before. We heard about full autonomy back in the days when we albatrosses we were shedding were Bobby Bonilla and Eddie Murray. Unfortunately, we’re still talking about it now.

Here’s devoutly hoping that the Wilpons will actually get out of the way of the smart new baseball-operations folks that they were wise to hire. If they do that, I firmly believe the Mets are headed for becoming the kind of organization they and we have always wanted to be a part of.

But if they don’t, we will be back at this pass before too long — maybe in three years, or five, but too soon. And instead of being the National League equivalent of the Boston Red Sox, we’ll be the senior-circuit version of the Baltimore Orioles — whose fans know their problems start so high up the ladder that the time to solve them will be measured in generations.

Please no. I’ve survived Tom Seaver being traded and M. Donald Grant making the team the North Korea of the free-agent era and the deRoulets and Bobby Bo and Robby Alomar and being beaten by the Yankees and three late-season collapses. But that might really be the thing that broke my heart.