Collins interview completes field

And now the deliberations ...

Terry Collins completed the interview process for manager with his final-round interview Thursday afternoon. Here's a transcript of what Collins had to say with reporters afterward:

How did it go?

"Well, you guys know them. They're so easy to talk to. It's fun. I enjoyed it a lot."

You haven't managed in the major leagues in a while. Obviously that desire is still there. Where does it come from?

"Well, that's what we get into the game for. I grew up trying and wanting to be a coach and a manager and I got my chance. Here it is again. I appreciate the opportunity just to talk to them."

You feel like this past year was good preparation, getting a firsthand look at the organization's minor leaguers?

"I think it helps. I think I know the kids a lot. We've got a good bunch of guys. I've got a great staff in the minor leagues. This organization has done itself very, very proud. They've drafted some good kids. They've signed some good, young players. And I enjoyed it a lot. The whole thing about getting to know our minor league system -- whether it's me or whoever it is -- I can certainly help whoever is going to manage this team, for sure."

How different was this interview compared with the first one?

"Well, I know most of them. I know Paul [DePodesta] and obviously John [Ricco] and Jeff [Wilpon]. I've been around, I've known J.P. [Ricciardi] for many years. I haven't worked with Sandy [Alderson], but I've known him for a long time. That's what made it comfortable. They're the ones who have to make the decision, but the process is fun."

Paul DePodesta said he had a gag order on what happened in L.A., but I suppose you don't. How close were you to becoming manager of the Dodgers after the 2005 season when Paul got pushed out?

"I'd say it was pretty close."

And thanks to Paul would you say it was pretty close?

"Well, again, it was the same thing. I was the minor league director and the field coordinator over there. I knew the young players, and they were starting to go young. So I thought I had a real good chance there. Certainly when Paul got let go, I was probably as disappointed as anybody. I had several conversations with [Dodgers owner] Frank [McCourt]. Things are fine."

Any time someone is up for a high-profile job, the past is raised. Did they ask you about the (2002) DUI? Did you explain that?

"Yes. I did. I did in my thing."

Can you explain it publicly?

"Not really. It's over. It's in the past. It's something we all wish didn't happen, but it did. I'm moving on."

How long was the interview?

"An hour and 20 minutes, maybe."

You managed Team China in the WBC, and right before that in Japan. What was the Japanese experience like? Was it at all comparable to the Astros and Angels experience? And it ended abruptly, no?

"We'd have to have a longer conversation than I have right now. It was just different. It was just different. I took it because I wanted to get back on the field, and it's a different situation over there. Bobby [Valentine] handled it a lot better than I wanted to."

Obviously past managerial experience came up. What happened with the in-fighting with the 1999 Angels?

"Guys, I know that's a big issue. All you end up doing is digging a bigger hole than needs to be dug. There's more to it, obviously, than anybody is ever going to know. I'll tell you what: We played good. Until '99 and the injuries hit -- I know this organization had that a couple of years ago -- but my teams out there played very good. It was a great experience."

Demeanor-wise, people may not have a feel when they see you in the dugout? Is it fiery? Have you mellowed?

"You grow and patience changes. But I believe in competition, too."

What are you trying to sell them on in that room?

"That you think you can be the manager of the team. Pretty much that you think you should be the guy. And there are some good guys. Chip Hale played for me. I think the world of Chip. Bob Melvin has been very, very successful. And I think Wally Backman proved this year that he's if not this year, going to be a very, very, very good major league manager. So you're in a great group. All you can do is say, 'Look, hey, I think I can help.' That's about all you can bring up."