Terry Collins on Broadway with “Harvey”


Preface. In 1944, a profoundly funny play called “Harvey” by Mary Chase became a major hit on Broadway. Most of us who do remember it, however, caught the laughter hops it produced from the 1950 black and white movie version, starring Jimmy Stewart. In greatly over-simplified terms, it’s the story of an eccentric middle aged man named Elwood P. Dowd who lives with his two older sisters. Dowd spends his time walking around town meeting strangers, handing each of them his card, and inviting them to dinner. He also does not fail to miss many bars along the way of his daily social jaunts. – The sisters are growing more embarrassed and frightened by the day from their brother’s behavior, especially since the time that Elwood brought home his bosom buddy, Harvey, who also happens to be a Randy Johnson height white rabbit that no one else can see. – See the movie for more. – The memory of that earlier Harvey simply forced the muses to throw a question at me as I awakened this morning. – “What about Mets manager Terry Collins’s experience with another big guy named “Harvey” in Game Five and the ninth inning managerial meltdown? Bearing in mind the need to do some integration of the movie/play and World Series plots, here’s the CliffsNotes version of how it may be playing out today – when Terry Collins and his own BFF version of Harvey drop into a Broadway bar to talk over what happened last night – and they run into a newsman with questions of his own:

Scene: Broadway Dive Bar, 2662 Broadway, New York, NY 10025; Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2015, 1:19 PM EST. Mets Manager Terry Collins and Mets Pitcher Matt Harvey quietly file into the bar and slip into a booth that appears to offer privacy and good talking space. As they order a couple of beers, they are getting ready for an elbows on the table, eyeball-to-eyeball discussion of Harvey’s winning pressure on Collins last night to stay in the game in the 9th, rather than yield to Mets closer JeurysFamilia, and their slightly different disappointment over the results. – Before they even get started, another man quickly and quietly hustles all the way across the saloon to introduce himself. He want to join them “for a moment”, but when neither budge, he simply pulls a chair loose from the nearest table and seats himself at the entry head of the booth in a way that says “I’m butting in here, whether you want me or not. Harvey’s face reddens and his right hand seems to be forming a fist. Collins senses Harvey’s building ire and counters by smiling broadly to the man as his right hand also reaches out to calm Harvey with an “easy does it” touch upon his left wrist. The intruder’s name is Charlie Willis, an AP sports assignment writer. Willis had stopped in the Broadway Dive for a “nooner” before grabbing a cab to JFK. He was still babbling from the enjoyment of his own good luck and the adrenaline it had produced when Collins brought discussion to a head. We’ll cover the rest of the story in dialogue exchange:

COLLINS: “Look, Charlie, Matt and I have things to discuss. Let’s go for A quick rap here. What do you want?”

WILLIS: “Not much. And everything. – I’m wanting to know today what America wants to know: We really get why you let Harvey here talk you into not going with Familia in the 9th. He had been the ‘Dark Knight’ for eight strong innings and had earned the right to give it a go – and yeah – we could see from the TV dugout shouts that he was telling you that he was NOT coming out. – Man alive, Terry! – No foul! No fault! – You went along with him! – And why not? Harvey had pitched his heart out! And Familia already had blown two saves in the World Series. What a bummer that would have been – had you pulled Harvey after eight – and then Familia went out there and did sooner what he end up doing anyway – blown his third save!

COLLINS: “Have one of my cards, Charlie. Perhaps, you can come to dinner at my house some soon – when we can talk about this some more.”

WILLIS (noting the growing face of anger in Harvey): “How come he doesn’t talk, Terry? He talked pretty loud in the Mets dugout in the eighth about staying in the game.”

COLLINS: “Harvey does most of his talking with his arm, Charlie. – When he starts talking in loud words, you better listen. – Cause then he goes from there to talking with his fists. – But, you’re not going do that today, are you, friend? – (Harvey shakes his head ‘no’.) – Oh, by the way, Charlie, you never took my card. – Take it. I have plenty more. I could even give you a few extras, if you think you might want to give them to your friends and family too.”

WILLIS (silently taking a handful of cards as he braces to ask his central question): “I’ll get out of your hair, Terry, but please allow me to ask the question that even Harold Reynolds couldn’t answer last night on FOX. …”

COLLINS (smiling agreeably): “You actually know Harold Reynolds, Charlie? – I’m impressed! Please take him one of my cards – and one for Joe Buck too!”

WILLIS: “Sure thing, Terry. – Uh … where was I? Oh yes … my main question – and Harold Reynold’s main question too – Once you did run Harvey here back out there in the 9th – and he walked Lorenzo Cain – WHY did you not take him out THEN? – You didn’t. You left him in there to give up that run scoring double over the left fielder’s head to dangerous hitter Eric Hosmer – who then turned out to be the guy that tied the game with that gutsy run home from third after Wright made the play to first. Look! – We all know its a “What If” now, but, had you pulled Harvey after the walk to Cain, Familia might have been able to even force a double play – as the Mets go on to win, 2-0, and are in Kansas City by now, getting ready for Game 6 tomorrow – and you are not stuck here in a Manhattan bar talking with a guy like me.”

COLLINS (smiling broadly, speaking calmly): “Here’s my explanation, Charlie, and that’s all I’m going to say. When I stop talking for ten seconds, that’s when I want you to just get up and walk out of here.  – Fair enough?”

WILLIS: “Fair Enough!”

COLLINS: “Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Terrence, you must be” — she always called me Terrence — “In this world, Terrence, you must be – oh so smart – or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. – Then I really got smart and started being more and more pleasant.

Aside from the fact that everyone who still saw me as smart is now gone as a  result of last night, I recommend pleasant over smart. It’s a much calmer state of mind.  And you may quote me.”




2 Responses to “Terry Collins on Broadway with “Harvey””

  1. stanfromtacoma Says:

    I listened to most of the World Series on my radio or over my phone through MLB at bat. I think the reason the WS is not going back to KC is more a result of what happened in games one and four rather than what happened last night. If the Mets win those two very winnable games they fly back to KC ahead 3-2 in the series.

    I think I qualify by this time in my life as a baseball fan. However I am not a fan of wild cards or division series. I listened to the Astros beat the Yankees in the wild card game and I was glad at the result not only for Bill but because I’ve never been a Yankees fan. That being said I enjoyed the post season much more before 1994 when the World Series was preceded solely by the League Championship Series . For me the post season has too many teams and it is too long. It reminds me more and more of two sports I don’t follow, the NBA and the NHL. My solution would be for baseball to expand to 32 teams. Split each league into 8 team divisions. Go back to a 154 regular season schedule followed by a 7 game LCS and 7 game WS. Get the baseball season over by mid October. I know it won’t happen but that is what I would like to see.

  2. Mike McCroskey Says:

    i am a bit amused by the discussion over Collins” damned if I do, damned it I don’t decision last night with Harvey vs Familia. Watching the replay of the Wright to Duda to home play on which Hosmer scored, as the throw goes past the catcher, wide left and high, Hosmer is no where in the picture! This indicates to me that a good, catchable throw, lower and to the 3rd base side of home, makes Hosmer an easy meat out and no run scores. The play was ruled an RBI ground out. It obviously should have been an E-3, as a good throw gets Hosmer and the Mets go on to KC and we watch them tonight.

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