For all who miss the candor and unpredictable postgame stylings of Terry Collins, fret no more.
The former Mets manager - and current special assistant to GM Brodie Van Wagenen - has signed a deal with Fox Sports to work on its baseball studio shows, according to industry sources. Collins is scheduled to debut Thursday (May 2) on FS1’s “MLB Whiparound” alongside host Kevin Burkhardt and analyst Frank Thomas.
Collins will continue to make select appearances during the season.
This is a good move by the Foxies that could pay off in a big way. Not only do they get a manager fresh out of the game, but one who can’t help but be himself whether he’s behind the scenes or in front of the camera. Collins’ postgame press conferences on SportsNet NY were must-see TV; it’s not like he’s going to change in a role where he’s being paid for his opinions.
During his managerial tenure, Collins’ direct approach with the media did not thrill the Mets front office. Yet Fox executives recognized something else about Collins that went beyond his passionate approach.
Throughout his career, whether he was managing the Mets, Angels or Astros, he was a fountain of information, honest on and off camera.
Although Collins still has a role with the team, he won’t be going to the microphone with any restraints, perceived or otherwise. Collins is not the first TV mouth to work for a team in an advisory capacity. In March, Van Wagenen hired Jessica Mendoza, one of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball analysts, to work as a baseball operations adviser. The “SNB” booth already had a Yankees “advisor,” Alex Rodriguez.
Neither ESPN voice has the fire in the belly Collins has. The key for Collins will be his ability to continue being himself on Fox while adjusting to the mechanics of the studio. Rex Ryan came to ESPN’s NFL studio highly touted as a big personality hire, but outside of ripping the Jets and Bills, he’s pulled his punches and has yet to live up to his reputation. Part of Ryan’s reluctance to really cut loose could telegraph a desire to return to coaching.
Collins won’t have that problem. When he stepped down as Mets manager two years ago, he indicated his dugout days were likely over. Now, his TV opportunity is about to begin.
Bob Papa must have broken some kind of record for using the word “wow,” immediately after the Giants used the sixth pick in the draft on Daniel Jones.
On MSG’s live draft night show, Papa, Carl Banks and David Diehl - three mouths with intimate Giants connections - didn’t know exactly what to say after Dave (Shecky) Gettleman picked the Duke QB. This was by far the best moment of first round coverage on any network.
How would the MSG mouths handle such a lame decision on the fly? On one hand, the sagging jaws and looks on their faces were all you needed to know. On the other, since this was a Giants-produced show, they couldn’t truly bare their souls and question Gettleman’s sanity. Their credibility was at stake.
Diehl wisely dealt the emotional card: “I think we’re all pretty shocked right now.” What else was there to say? They talked about what this meant for Eli Manning and then started down Spin Avenue.
Fortunately, Banks and his mates, thought twice about the direction they were headed and attached a verbal asterisk to their conversation.
They deserve much credit for finally admitting they were trying to “rationalize” the Giants using the No. 6 pick on Jones when they could’ve used it to select a defensive stud.
They must have realized they were not, and could not, fool anybody watching.
GREEN GANGED UP
SNY, which did live Jets pre- and post-draft shows, still managed to get in a huge shot at the Giants on its website.
SNY.TV had a camera on Jets analyst Ray Lucas immediately after the Giants picked Jones. Lucas was cackling and cussing as he ran through the newsroom ripping the pick.
Lucas showed no mercy. And that’s being kind. Yet it makes me wonder if his video hijinks will one day be used as motivation for Jones and the Giants, and come back to haunt Mr. Lucas.
John J. Filippelli’s first TV production credit came at NBC News in 1974 when he worked on “The Nixon Resignation Special.”
45 years later, Filippelli finds himself in an alternative universe overseeing Michael Kay, and an assortment of Seamhead analysts in his role of president production/programming of the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network, aka YES, aka Al Yankzeera.
Seriously, and all jiving aside, we didn’t want to let the baseball season get too far ahead of us before we saluted this man for managing to not just thrive for 45 years but survive in a business where you really need to walk around with eyes in the back of your head.
As far as we know Filippelli does not have backwards peepers. He got by on talent and often a determination to change things. Through his years at NBC Sports, ABC Sports, Fox Sports and YES, he has uniquely blended an open tent, everyman approach to sports production with the ability to innovate on the technical side. Over four decades he either created or helped create numerous technological innovations, like “catcher cam.” At the same time, he developed and nurtured then-young talents Bob Costas, Joe Buck and Kay.
Early on, Filippelli recognized the talent of women looking to negotiate sports TV’s star making machinery. Filippelli hired the first woman remote producer, Carol Langley, at the old Baseball Network. He also hired Suzyn (Ma Pinstripe) Waldman for a play-by-play gig at TBN. Filippelli made YES the first regional network to hire a woman - Sarah Kustok -as its No. 1 NBA analyst with the Nets.
All his work over all these years has earned Filippelli 100 national Emmy Awards and 100 local Emmys. He refuses to say where he keeps them. So, when you hear Kay or another YES voice mention this cat’s name on the air, recognize how much Filippelli has accomplished and most importantly, what he has meant to the way baseball looks and sounds on television.
If you ever sit down with him, you will find a great storyteller.
Just reserve some time. He likes to talk. And these 45 years give him plenty of material.
AROUND THE DIAL
There’s got to be a glimmer of hope in this twisted world when two radio maniacs/enemies, Chris (Mad Dog) Russo and Dino (Mastermind) Costa can engage in semi-civil, highly entertaining conversation on Doggie’s SXM afternoon-drive show. … Russo inked a new four-year deal with SXM. Doggie don’t need no stinking app. ... Was this a one-time thing, or is ESPN going to pay tribute to Chris Berman before every NFL Draft? ... When Gary Cone and Keith Hernandez start talking food, SNY should stop interrupting them with a not-so-spicy Steve Gelbs report, please! ... At least Gettleman has company. ESPN’s Mel Kiper did a victory lap for predicting the GM would use his sixth pick on Jones.
DUDE OF THE WEEK: BLAKE GRIFFIN
For reaching out to the media - literally. While negative relations between some boss scribes and NBA players (OKC’s Russell Westbrook vs. The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel) are getting big play, Griffin was passing good vibrations to the notebooks and pens covering the Pistons’ final press conference. When the session ended, the Pistons’ forward circled the room, shaking hands with each member of the press as he said “thank you” or “appreciate it.” Very nice!
DWEEB OF THE WEEK: CHRIS WELSH
For allowing his mouth to outrun his brain. The Reds broadcaster wasn’t just the latest to express an opinion on Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies decision to ink a seven-year, $35 million contract - he was the lamest. On the air, Welsh said that Albies (who speaks four languages) comes “from a poor background” and may not “know the difference between $35 million and $85 million.” Unfortunately, no one working with Welsh tried to offer him a clue during his inane soliloquy.
What Dave Gettleman said: “He (Daniel Jones) is the right kid for us.”