Moments ago we concluded a conference call between manager Terry Collins and a cadre of Mets bloggers, including yours truly. I didn't transcribe the whole thing because a) my mic wasn't working properly, and b) there weren't too many earth-shattering responses. Plus, after Matthew Artus from Always Amazin' stole my question1 I was a little bummed and had to go to my backup question. I managed to transcribe that as well as Collins's response:
I feel like big league managers have really lost the art of arguing with umpires. Can you talk about your approach to arguing calls and, for you, what causes a situation to escalate from a simple exchange to an animated kerfuffle?
Once in a while, number one, it's part of the game, and one of the things that's changing in this game is how umpires take offense to the fact that you're going to come out and argue, and I think they believe that because instant replay is now a huge part of our game today. Years ago when the manager-umpire argument was all part of it and they understood it and they listened a little bit more, they had some comments, but now they try to defend themselves to the max, and there was also a few years ago, when Sandy was in charge of the umpires, the big thing was, hey, get the thing right and there were more conferences among umpires to get the play correctly. Today, one of the things they'll try to do is talk you into some arguments, they might be mad because you've been complaining about balls and strikes all night long, so they've had enough, so now once in a while they'll talk you into coming out and having a big argument, really, a lot of it leads to how you approach it when you go out there to argue.
I'm an emotional guy, I have a great intenseness, I truly believe in my players, I truly believe in supporting my players, and once in a while you go out there and you say the wrong thing, but I've also been out there where the umpire will bait you into saying the wrong thing too by saying something back, and that's where I think umpires today are changing a little bit. Years ago, umpires would never do that. They'd let you have your say, they'd give you some return stuff, and hey, let's move on, let's go play the game because it's all part of it. Today they need to protect themselves by having the ability to eject the manager or the player, sometimes a little bit before it's necessary. I think ultimately everybody has to understand that those people that sit on those seats, they come to see the players play, so there needs to be a little bit more patience on their part
1 The question was mainly about whether Collins would consider using Francisco Rodriguez as a relief ace, i.e., in high-leverage situations that happened not to occur in the ninth inning. It didn't sound like Collins would be reinventing the wheel here, which is both unsurprising and disappointing.