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Collins reflects on tenure in Anaheim

Special to MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Mets manager Terry Collins returned Friday to the ballpark where he guided the Angels from 1997-99 -- his last Major League managerial job before he was hired by New York in 2011.

"It's been a long time," Collins said before the series opener against the Angels. "I've probably seen everybody I know that's still left. There's not many.

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ANAHEIM -- Mets manager Terry Collins returned Friday to the ballpark where he guided the Angels from 1997-99 -- his last Major League managerial job before he was hired by New York in 2011.

"It's been a long time," Collins said before the series opener against the Angels. "I've probably seen everybody I know that's still left. There's not many.

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"It was a great place. I had good players, and how can you beat the atmosphere here?"

He and Mike Scioscia, who followed Collins in Anaheim, were teammates in the Dodgers' Minor League system.

"We played together," Collins said. "He's a solid baseball man. It will be good to see him."

Gary DiSarcina, Collins' shortstop when he managed the Angels, is in his first year as Scioscia's third-base coach.

"The third-base coach is one of the favorite players I ever had," said Collins, who managed the Astros for three seasons before coming to Anaheim.

Collins resigned late in the '99 season amid reports of player unrest on a team picked to contend but crippled by key injuries.

"I'm a completely different guy than I was 15 years ago," he said. "I'm a lot more mellow. I'm a lot better communicator than I was then. If I had been a better communicator then, some of the things that happened here wouldn't have happened."

He said he should've done a better job policing the Angels clubhouse.

"Things have changed," Collins said. "The attitudes have changed. The rules have changed. The work ethics have changed."

One thing hasn't changed about Collins, over the years, to his regret.

"I haven't grown an inch," the 5-foot-9 former shortstop said.

Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com.

New York Mets