You would get your uniform dirty for Terry Collins. Of course you would. If they published the league leaders in accountability every week in the Sunday newspapers, Collins would be alone at the top, the '27 Yankees of accountability. He's more accountable than any other three managers you can put in a room together.

Is there such a thing as over-accountability?

Maybe there is, maybe there isn't. He is an accountant of accountability. You know all those coaches and managers over the years who have spewed, relentlessly, the pap of I-coached-great-but-they-sure-played-like-garbage? By himself, Collins tries to cancel all of them out. He is the Count of Accountability.

A week ago, the Mets manager wrung his hands all over Johan Santana's no-hitter, illustrating how tortured he was, telling the world in advance that if the 134 pitches he allowed Santana to throw had even a speck of negative impact on Santana and/or the Mets, he wouldn't know how to live with himself. Days later he was lashing himself with the same verbal flagellations.

"His health is my responsibility," he said on Monday.

"I take his well-being personally," he said Wednesday.

And he proved it. He made the decision to keep Santana off the mound for six full days after his gem last Friday. He toyed with the idea of giving him the ball on Thursday in Washington, but Santana — something of an advanced accountability intern — didn't want R.A. Dickey to have to choose between going a day short of a day long.

"We're all in this together," the pitcher said.

So Santana went last night, at Yankee Stadium, a place where the Yankees have taken great liberties before with him on days when his change-up and slider behaved as they did yesterday: not diving down and away from righties and down and in on lefties, sitting instead on a tee, allowing the Yankees to pound out six runs, four homers, on their way to a 9-1 victory in this first Subway Series game of the 2012 season.

Understand something: this wasn't the first time the Yankees filleted him here. Two years ago they reached him for four runs and eight hits in six innings; the year before that, two days after The Castillo Game, it was nine runs and nine hits in three innings. Bronx dimensions have long been unfriendly confines for lefties without their "A" game. Santana's been there. Last night actually lowered his career ERA in The Bronx as a Met.