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New York views on Terry Collins

Terry-CitiBuffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Terry Collins certainly won the press conference Tuesday when he was named the 20th manager in Mets history. Passionate, vibrant, from the heart, the whole thing. Just like we saw from the first time he came to then-Pilot Field in 1989.

We've had plenty of big winners in the dugout here, like fellow Hall member Brian Graham, Jeff Datz, Eric Wedge and Marty Brown. None are as beloved as Collins, who was the skipper in the halcyon days of one million fans every year. Here's a selection of the responses to Collins from the voracious New York City media:

Harvey Araton of the New York Times spoke to two very interested spectators at the Collins press conference -- Bisons operators Bob and Mindy Rich. No new ground broken here to us but certainly interesting reading to New York City folk. It's common knowledge here Collins was going to be the Bisons' inaugural manager in 1993 if they were selected as a National League expansion team. And it's equally common knowledge that things suddenly got right between the Mets and Bisons last year after Collins came on board as minor-league field coordinator to wipe away the disaster that was the Tony Bernazard-directed 2009 season.

New York Post columnist Mike Vaccaro, the St. Bona grad and good friend of Inside Pitch, makes it clear that hiring Collins is an upgrade for the Mets. Vaccaro also points out how refreshing it was for Collins to say he's "not the evil devil" people might think after his stint in Anaheim ended badly in 1999.

ESPNNY.com columnist Ian O'Connor wonders if Collins will follow the same career path as Joe Torre -- not much success until he arrived in New York later in life.

Adam Rubin on ESPNNY.com provides the transcript of Collins' breakout session with print reporters Tuesday.

Here's a podcast link to Collins' talk with Yankees' play-by-play man Michael Kay on ESPN 1050 AM Tuesday afternoon. It's about 15 minutes or so.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

AP Photo: The Citi Field scoreboard welcomes Terry Collins to New York after Tuesday's press conference. 

Mets will tab Herd Hall member Collins as skipper

Big news out of New York coming from Adam Rubin at ESPNNY.com -- Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Terry Collins is going to be named the new manager of the Mets. 

Collins, who served last year as the Mets' minor-league field coordinator, got the job over fellow finalists Bob Melvin, Chip Hale and Wally Backman. Collins is 61 now and says he has mellowed from his authoritarian days leading the Astros and Angels. But that's what we loved about him in Buffalo, when he managed the Bisons from 1989-1991, and it's what the Mets need more of in the wake of the regime of the ultra-soft Jerry Manuel.

The Mets' development philosophy completely turned in one year under Collins, who helped transform the Bisons from embarrassments in 2009 to contenders in 2010 and cemented the Mets' stay in Buffalo. Now we see what he can do with the big-league club under new GM Sandy Alderson.

Rubin put together this neat list of Collins tidbits, most of which came after he left Buffalo. But No. 10 is right on in reviewing his days at then-Pilot Field. Had Buffalo been a 1993 expansion winner, there's no question Bob Rich was hiring Collins as his first manager.

The Mets need a ton of help on the field but they've made huge strides in the offseason in the front office and dugout. Here's hoping it continues.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Can a 13-12 Felix really be a King?

Not surprised that Felix Hernandez has won the AL Cy Young, as I indicated earlier today that I thought he would. I am very, very surprised at the landslide vote: 21 of 28 first-place votes and 167 total points compared to David Price (4, 111) and CC Sabathia (3, 102). It's a clear sign voters are taking more of a statistical analysis approach to voting. On the whole, I suppose that's a good thing overall.

Still, it would have been nice for the best pitcher in the entire league to have a better record than 13-12 and to have pitched in a meaningful game after May. Yes, the Mariners were historically bad offensively and that lagged King Felix's run support way behind his counterparts. But it's hard for me to get past a Cy Young guy winning two games -- two! -- in his division for an entire season. That has to count for something.

That said, maybe it's me. After all, I left the NL Manager of the Year off my official ballot because I felt blowing a division with a 10-game losing streak late in the season was a fatal strike on the resume. Most everyone else apparently didn't. But that's why the voting is fascinating: It's 28 different opinions. We can agree to disagree.

King Felix had a fabulous season by the stats. I just didn't think it was a Cy Young one.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

It's AL Cy day

Today is the most polarizing day for baseball's end-of-season awards. It's AL Cy Young Award day with the winner coming at 2 p.m. and sure to rile both sides of an argument backing stats (Felix Hernandez) vs. wins and team success (CC Sabathia and David Price).

I spelled out all the arguments for both sides in this column during the final week of the regular season. My opinion hasn't changed: If I had a vote, it would go to Sabathia but I think this vote will ultimately go to King Felix and he will win the award despite his 13-12 record.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Inside my Manager of the Year ballots

Now it can be told. I was one of the 28 voters for both the National League and American League Manager of the Year awards. The winners were announced Wednesday afternoon -- with San Diego's Bud Black (the former Bisons pitching coach) winning in the NL and Minnesota's Ron Gardenhire winning in the AL.

You vote for the top three. Votes were due prior to the start of the playoffs and the Baseball Writers Association of America requests you keep them confidential until the award results come out in November. Hence, this blog post.

I had it this way:

NL -- Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia; Dusty Baker, Cincinnati; Bobby Cox, Atlanta
AL -- Ron Washington, Texas; Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay; Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota.

Obviously, looking at the results, it seems I may have been a little out there in the NL. I was the only first-place vote for Manuel and one of two not to list Black on the ballot.  I had the top-three in the AL, albeit in a different order, so there's really no explanation needed there. But here's a few words on my NL ballot.

Why not Black? -- He's a great guy as anyone who was around the '98 Bisons will attest. I was thrilled to talk to him several times during the 2002 World Series, when he was the Angels' pitching coach and won a title. And it's been great to see his success as the skipper in San Diego. Black was on the hot seat coming into this year and the Padres had a huge bounceback season. I think he was a runaway winner if the voting was done on, say, Aug. 15. But it's for the whole season. It was hard for me to put a vote -- let alone a No. 1 -- for a guy whose team basically choked away a division it led all season and did so with an epic 10-game losing streak. The players have to be culpable for that collapse but so does the manager. Harsh assessment? Perhaps. But so be it.

Why Manuel? -- Many folks will probably assume I did a career achievement award vote since Manuel has won four straight NL East crowns and never won this award. Not a chance. That's not what these are. It was for 2010 only. Sure, the Phillies had the most talent. But they were also decimated by injuries. They were well back of the Braves in the NL East. It would have been easy for them to fall apart in the wake of the guys missing from their lineup and the deficit they faced. But they didn't. Manuel held them together when they needed him the most. Sure, it was easy for him to write the lineup in September, when everyone was healthy and the Phils finally put it together. But he was there in the months prior to that when his team needed a steady hand. 

Why no Bruce Bochy? -- It was a flip of the coin for him and Cox. Remember, regular-season only. Did you really think the Braves were going to be the wild-card this year? Throw out it was Cox's last year. That was a great job. So was Bochy's work at coming back in the NL West. But you could only pick one No. 3.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Gridirons on famous diamonds

There are football games -- yes, I said football games -- Saturday at both Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field.  In the Bronx, Notre Dame is playing Army (7 p.m. on NBC) and in Chicago, Northwestern is hosting Illinois.

At both places, the infields have been sodded over. Wrigley, of course, was the home of the Bears before Soldier Field and old Yankee hosted the Giants before the Meadowlands, including the famous Colts-Giants 1958 NFL championship game. Here's a couple pictures I found of the two sites.

Blow 'em up for closer looks. Found them at Bustedcoverage.com. Pretty cool looking.

---MIke Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Wrigley Yankee

Video vault: Mid-70s changes in the Bronx

Here's a classic YouTube that just started showing up on blogs over the weekend. It's five minutes-plus of someone's home movies of the renovation of Yankee Stadium that began in 1973. Love the old cars in the parking lot. Not big on the funeral-sounding music but whatever. 

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Sandberg to manage IronPigs

Spurned for the top job by the Chicago Cubs, Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg will be a regular visitor to Buffalo next season as he was hired Monday by the Phillies to be the manager of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Sandberg replaces Dave Huppert, who had three mostly brutal seasons in Lehigh Valley. Since taking over as the Phils' top affiliate from Ottawa for the 2008 season, the Allentown, Pa.-based team has not been over .500 for a single day of its three seasons.

Lehigh Valley will be in Buffalo to meet the Bisons for a pair of four-game series, April 22-25 and June 28-July 1. 

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

It's awards week in MLB

The major awards voted upon by the Baseball Writers Association of America start to be revealed today. Remember, all awards were voted based on the regular season only and will be announced at 2 p.m. each day.

Today's winners will be the AL and NL Rookie of the Year. So that should be Neftali Feliz of Texas in the AL and either Jason Heyward of Atlanta or Buster Posey of San Francisco in the NL. Here's the rest of the schedule:

Tuesday: NL Cy Young (probably Roy Halladay)

Wednesday:  AL and NL Managers of the year (Ron Washington or Ron Gardenhire are the favorites in the AL but the NL ballot is likely tight between Cincinnati's Dusty Baker, Philadelphia's Charlie Manuel, San Diego's Bud Black and San Francisco's Bruce Bochy.

Thursday: The AL Cy Young battle between CC Sabathia and Felix Hernandez. 

Monday, Nov. 22: NL MVP (Albert Pujols or Joey Votto?)

Tuesday, Nov. 23: AL MVP (Josh Hamilton or Miguel Cabrera?)

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Baseball Notebook: Moving up

Good to see Torey Lovullo move up to the major leagues on Monday. John Farrell picked the former Bisons' player and manager to be his new first base coach. Torey is a Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame who knew Farrell back from their days in the Cleveland organization. In addition, Lovullo was in the Red Sox system as Pawtucket manager, while Farrell was the Boston pitching coach.

Farrell has developed a reputation as an extremely bright, hard-working person, and you can bet he's surrounding himself with similar people in Toronto. His bench coach choice is former Seattle Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu. 

Meanwhile, the list of candidates for the veterans' commitee in the Baseball Hall of Fame have been revealed. It's traditionally been tough to get someone elected this way, but there are some interesting candidates. The obvious ones are George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin, forever linked with the Yankees. Marvin Miller, the MLB Players' Association chief, has a ton of support from ex-players and is probably overdue. Then there are some other players: Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub. No sure bets on that list, although Oliver and John strike me as players near the line of induct/not-induct.

And there will be a change in the lineup for Sunday NIght Baseball next season. ESPN will not be bringing back Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. The combination lasted for more than 20 years. No replacements have been named.

--- Budd Bailey 

Around the horn: Sparky mourned, Wilson on Leno

---As I was cleaning out the notebook, we start with some sad news as Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson died Thursday at age 76, one day after his family announced he was going into hospice care for dementia. Here's a sensational obituary by John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press that recounts Anderson's career, including the ill-advised promotion of future Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Torey Lovullo and his wonderful press conference during the 2006 World Series in Detroit's Comerica Park. I was fortunate enough to be in the room for that one and it was classic Sparky, as Lowe recounts near the end of the story.

---Want some entertainment? Tune in Jay Leno's show tonight at 11:30. One of his guests will be wacko Giants closer Brian Wilson. If you haven't listened to the Wilson audio I posted from Monday night's clubhouse celebration, you owe it to yourself to go back and listen.

---The Pittsburgh Pirates waited until after the World Series to wrap up their manager's search because they wanted to talk to Texas hitting coach and former Colorado skipper Clint Hurdle  I would bet Eric Wedge was their top choice but he went to Seattle instead. Looks like it's down to Hurdle and organizational man Jeff Banister, the former Bisons catcher and cancer survivor who was a wonderful story in 1991 when he got a base hit at Three Rivers Stadium in his one and only big-league at-bat. Bansister has been a Pirates for more than 20 years but he's not a name with big-league experience. Still, I hope he gets the chance.

---The Red Sox have exercised their $12.5 million option for next year on David Ortiz. The Rangers declined Vladimir Guerrero's $9 million option but it still seems like they would like to get him back. That 1-for-14 World Series showing didn't help his cause. 

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

In the words of Blackbeard

Wilson ARLINGTON, Texas -- What's a reporter to do in the chaos of a World Series-winning clubhouse? Go for the guy with the funny quips. So I piled in with a group encircling oddball Giants closer Brian Wilson late Monday night. Click the box below to hear some of the questions -- and his priceless answers.

Through the sounds of the screaming and the spraying champagne, of course.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

AP Photo: Wilson celebrates the final out.

The view in San Francisco

Here's how the San Francisco Chronicle displayed the Giants' World Series clincher in Tuesday's editions (image courtesy of the Newseum).

Giants

Game Five audio recap: The Giants win the Series!

ARLINGTON, Texas -- I survived the champagne drenching of the Giants' clubhouse to provide this audio report on their Game Five clincher. Still haven't figured out which Giant got me smack in the face with the bubbly while I was talking to Aubrey Huff. Direct hit. One of the worst I've taken in these scenes over the last 12 years.

But how can you argue? They've waited 56 years to spray somebody after winning a World Series. Click below for my thoughts.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

(Finally) Live from Rangers Ballpark: Giants go for the clinch in Game Five

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Greetings for one last time from Rangers Ballpark, where it's all on the line tonight for the Giants in Game Five. They can end 52 years of frustration with a win tonight and take the World Series title home to San Francisco for the first time. It's Tim Lincecum vs. Cliff Lee -- and Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg, who is guaranteeing victory for Texas tonight and in a potential Game Six Wednesday back at AT&T Park.

(It's also the last night I have to battle with the wireless system here, which has hardly been reliable. Not to say it's been any better than San Francisco. Bad Series on the techno front). Just as the wireless came back, the power has gone down. I got a couple hours of battery so we'll see.

There was a spectacular red sunset over the ballpark and its the coolest of the three nights here by far. The breeze is blowing pretty good and it's blowing out for the first time. If Lee and Lincecum get any pitches up and they're hit into this jet stream, they're going over the fence.

Here are the lineups:
San Francisco: Torres, rf; Sanches, 2b; Posey, c; Ross, lf; Uribe, 3b; Huff, 1b; Burrell, dh; Renteria, ss; Rowand, cf
Texas:  Andrus, ss; Young, 3b; Hamilton, cf; Guerrero, dh; Cruz, rf; Kinsler, 2b; Murphy, lf; Molina, c; Moreland, 1b

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

We're under way:  Lee gave up a first-inning single to Posey while Lincecum got the Rangers out 1-2-3. The first pitch was a ball from Lee to Torres at 6:58 CT. It's 68 degrees -- well below the 79- and 77-degree readings we had here at the start the last two nights.

End-2nd: Still zip-zip. Lee has retired six of seven and Lincecum all six. Wasn't this how Game One was supposed to go?

Freak End-3rd: Nothing doin. Lee gave up a two-out single to Torres but he got nowhere. Lincecum walked Moreland after retiring the first eight but fanned Andrus to end the inning and has three no-hit innings. Molina, by the way, was furious after taking a called first strike from plate ump Jeff Kellogg. It's 0-0 through three.

End-4th: We've played four scoreless innings in 62 minutes. Wow. How is Fox going to get in all those commercials? Lee has given up two hits and Young got the Rangers' first with a single up the middle off Lincecum but was erased on a Guerrero fielder's choice. But Cruz struck out to end the inning. The pitch counts are shocking through four. Lee was 51-36, Lincecum 53-35.

Mid-5th: Halfway home as Lee gets a double play ball from Renteria to erase Huff, who had reached when Moreland dropped a quick thrown from Kinsler. It's "Deep in the Heart of Texas" time.

End-5th: This incredible duel continues. Lee has a two-hitter with four strikeouts and no walks. Lincecum has a one-hitter with six strikeouts and one walk. The Rangers have just three balls to the outfield off Lincecum, the Giants just four off Lee. There are so many bad swings on both sides. Guys look like they don't have a prayer.

Cliff Amazing how baseball is the one sport you DON'T want a lot of rest between playoff series. Think of of teams in the NBA and NHL hope for it, how NFL teams want those two weeks off. In baseball, it's a bad-bad-bad thing. Hitters lose their timing and pitchers get out of routine. Look at Lee and Lincecum in Game One and look at them tonight on their regular day. Case closed.

Mid-6th: The closest call of the night but still no dice. With two out, Sanchez gets a single to right as Cruz missed it on a dive. Posey follows on the next pitch with a drive to right but Cruz goes back and jumps against the wall to grab it for the third out. Could have been a Series-winning home run for the rookie with another couple feet behind it.

Top-7th: Big trouble for Lee. Ross singles on a 1-2 pitch, Uribe pounds another single up the middle on an 0-2 pitch and Huff sacrifices the runners. It's second and third with one out for Burrell. Was the sixth inning a sign that Lee's armor was denting?

End-7th: Now that my connection is back, I can say I was right. Lee fanned Burrell but Edgar Renteria broke this thing up with a three-run jack to deep left-center on a 2-0 pitch to stun the crowd. I'm talking stone-cold silent except for the few Giants fans in the top rows behind the plate. That made it 3-0. The Rangers got one back in the bottom of the inning on a Cruz bomb to left. Lee is out and Neftali Feliz is in to start the eighth. Giants, 3-1, and six outs away from a title

End-8th, 3 outs to go: A 1-2-3 inning for Lincecum preserves the 3-1 lead. He's thrown 101 pitches and has 10 strikeouts. Brian Wilson is up in the pen. We'll see what the Giants do. 

It's over: Paraphrasing Russ Hodges, "THE GIANTS WIN THE SERIES, THE GIANTS WIN THE SERIES". A 3-1 victory as Wilson gets Cruz swinging for the final out.

Rangers CEO: It's going to Game Seven

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Just got to the ballpark for Game Five and noticed this story: Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg is guaranteeing a win tonight  and a win in Game Six. In the same radio interview this morning, Greenberg also trashed Yankees' fans behavior, certainly an item he's going to use in the upcoming Cliff Lee negotiations.

So we'll see. Hall of Famer and ex-Ranger Ferguson Jenkins is throwing the first pitch and Charley Pride will sing the national anthem. The Rangers also replaced Alexi Ogando on the roster with Dustin Nippert after Ogando strained an oblique last night. More to come.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Game Four audio recap: Giants one win away

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Mike Harrington's audio recap from Rangers Ballpark reviews the work of Giants starter Madison Bumgarner, the struggles of the Rangers offense and the potential for a Game Five clincher after San Francisco's 4-0 win Sunday night. Click below for the audio.

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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