By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Mets manager Terry Collins vowed on Tuesday that the 2011 New York team would mirror his approach to baseball by exhibiting energy and respect for execution of fundamentals during the upcoming season.
Collins, who last managed in the major leagues 11 years ago for the Anaheim Angels, was hired to replace Jerry Manuel, who steered the Mets to a 79-83 record that put them 18 games behind the NL East winning Philadelphia Phillies.
"The players have to realize my passion for the game and my passion for excellence," Collins, 61, told a news conference at Citi Field to introduce the new skipper. "I know they have the same passion."
Collins, who managed the Houston Astros before going to the Angels, quit the Anaheim job late in the 1999 season after a long tailspin for the team and some clubhouse unrest over his management style.
His first five seasons as an MLB manager produced winning records and second-place finishes. In 1999, he was 51-82 when he quit the job.
Since then, Collins went on to manage in Japan, taking the helm of the Orix Buffaloes, managed China's team in the World Baseball Classic and directed the minor league system for the Los Angeles Dodgers, a role he took on for the Mets last year.
"I'm full of energy. I'm full of enthusiasm and over the past years. I'm not the evil devil that a lot of people have made me out to be," Collins said. "I've learned to mellow a little bit.
"My love of the game itself leads me to want the game to be played correctly. That never takes a second step to anything."
Collins said he came to know many of the Mets players in the past year and was confident they could be successful.
"They all want to win, that's the common goal," he said. "We've got to make sure that this energy, they buy into it.
"When there is dual respect on both sides, the players do take on the personality of the manager and if that happens there will be energy in Citi Field on a nightly basis."
Collins said there would be an emphasis on getting the basics right, something underlined during his days in Asian baseball.
"They are fundamentally sound, they do not make little mistakes," Collins said. "They don't have the power, but they execute defense. They execute the offensive things, the bunt, the hit and run. They pride themselves on that."
Collins said the 11-year gap since his last major league job should not be a problem.
"You still got to catch it, still have to throw it over the plate, still have to run the bases and put it in play. Those will never change," he said.
"When the execution side is there and the passion for success is there we'll be successful."
(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Julian Linden)