He finally revealed the sum of his work Monday, addressing the team prior to the first day of full-squad workouts at Digital Domain Park.
"You stand up in that room this morning and you've got 56 or 58 of the best players in the world sitting in front of you," Collins said. "You know they belong to you. They're your team. It's something I've been wanting to do my whole life, to try to get them better and try to get them to the ultimate game. It's just so fun. It's amazing."
Early reviews of the morning were positive. For most Mets players, it marked their first exposure to a motivational tactic that Collins jokingly classified as "more Patton" than Lincoln, referring to the famous World War II general. Collins' predecessor, Jerry Manuel, rarely felt the need to address his team in a group setting.
"That intensity and that passion just kind of rubs off on the players," third baseman David Wright said.
For Collins, the speech represented the climax to months of anxious waiting, from the time he accepted the job in November to his fledgling days with the team on the field.
"Today was the most fun I've had in 12 years being out there," Collins said. "I loved it. And I owe it to the way they went about their jobs."