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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Mets Hall of Fame & Museum Has Risen

I have seen the past, and its name is the Mets Hall of Fame & Museum.

To all who thought the Mets loathed their own history, their self-hatred has come to a merciful end. To all who thought the Mets didn’t listen to their customers, their hearing tests came back with belated flying colors. To all who thought the Mets could screw up a one-car funeral, don’t assume they can’t present a vibrant memorial after the fact.

The Mets Hall of Fame & Museum answers just about all of our desires in the realm of Met legacy. Granted, it doesn’t do anything about the pitching and the injuries and the general murkiness that surrounds the season ahead, but it does take care of what came before and it does so with grace and style. The space is airy, the vibe is lighthearted, the density of display is impressive. You know you’re in the Mets’ ballpark when you’re in the Mets Hall of Fame & Museum. You know there’s a team with a half-century of heritage that has been hauled out of storage to shine in the sun. You know the organization that you were convinced wanted nothing to do with you has awakened like Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning and, having seen the error of its ways, is sending out plump turkeys instead of begrudgingly flipping us the bird.

God bless us all, everyone!

I’m a wee bit giddy from this experience because I had a hard time believing it might happen, the admonition that You Gotta Believe notwithstanding. It’s just so unlike the Mets to celebrate the Mets…to go all the way in celebrating the Mets. They began to rehabilitate their image last summer with a few Nikon-sponsored murals, but you had the sense they were affixed to the Citi Field walls with spite. Not this venue, though. This thing is the real deal. This thing shows off the artifacts, the trophies, the uniforms, the pictures…everything.

The Citi Field of April 2009 acted as if it invented the Mets from old Dodger dust and implied that the purpose of the Mets all along was to give Ebbets Field a chance to reincarnate. The Polo Grounds didn’t exist in this new history. Shea Stadium didn’t exist in this new history. Just cold, hard commerce in the form of a few private clubs and a slew of ugly ads. Boy did I dislike that Citi Field.

The new Citi Field, which you can call Mets Ballpark and be accurate, acknowledges it had other ancestors. It acknowledges the other two Mets Ballparks and tells a rich, textured story of who played in them and why they mattered. It’s not just the HOF&M, either. It’s the parade of color banners outside. It’s the beloved original Apple on the Plaza. It’s Shea Bridge. It’s the Stengel, Seaver and Hodges entrances. It’s the oversized vintage baseball cards (including one for Bernard Gilkey!) on the Field Level concourse. It’s those plaques within the brick formations. It’s the new actual Hall of Fame plaques. It’s the loving treatment of each postseason appearance. It’s a handful of implicit and explicit nods to the (gasp!) New York Giants. It’s the blue and orange speckles on the restroom floors. It’s “Meet The Mets,” the 1963 version (both verses), playing happily as you enter the Rotunda. It’s the Mets not worrying that other teams have histories that encompass more medals and fancier ribbons. Management has accepted the idea, at last, that we don’t care that it hasn’t all been one long glory ride from 1962 to the present. We just wanted the ride acknowledged. And now it has been. The Mets aren’t wallflowers at their own dance anymore. They’re calling the tune and it sounds better than I could have fathomed.

Today’s visit, possible via the workout opened to season ticket and plan holders (thanks to Team Chapman for the invite), was about being stunned and gratified. Future visits will entail further exploration and yield, no doubt, some more ideas on how to maintain and extend this sudden burst of excellence. Now that we’ve got this place, I want it to flourish. At this moment, however, I just want to think about what I saw and see it again.

Congratulations to all who made the Mets Hall of Fame & Musuem a gorgeous and brilliant reality. Let it be said that on Easter Sunday 2010, Mets history was truly resurrected.

Full disclosure: I had a hand in writing the script for the video you’ll hear Gary Cohen narrating as you tour the museum, having worked with Little Guy Productions on crafting its first draft, but I otherwise had nothing to do with the planning of this beautifully executed facility.

Two other rave reviews worth reading, from Mets Police and MetsGrrl.

20 comments to Mets Hall of Fame & Museum Has Risen

  • Ray

    This had better not be another April Fools post.

    Because with this ownership, I’m not 100% sure.

    • Nah, it’s real, though I have to confess as I stared at the transplanted Apple, I was thinking that a gigantic stalk of asparagus wouldn’t necessarily look so terrible out here.

  • Inside Pitcher

    No April Fool’s – it’s real, and it’s spectacular.

  • Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by gfafif: On Easter Sunday 2010, #Mets HOF & Museum Has Risen. http://wp.me/pKvXu-1jH

  • I hate to say anything nice about them but hell yeah.

  • Tom from the bronx

    It was great meeting you there Greg! Hopefully the Mets can add some more positive moments and souvenirs (dare i say a third WS trophy?) to the museum this season. The only thing that disappointed me was that I didn’t see any mention of the Mets dog mascot, Homer the beagle! Other than that they did an absolutely fantastic job. Keep up the great work Greg and Let’s go Mets!

    • Tom, good meeting you, too. I felt a little odd leaning up against the wall while you were nice enough to come over, but it was the only way I could hear Gary’s narration over the din.

      FYI, I did see a clip of Homer at some point. I hope it’s not the only Homer in evidence at Citi Field this week.

  • The Hall sounds WONDERFUL!!!I can’t wait to see more photos!!

  • 5w30

    I say they’ve got to run that color film clip of Casey Stengel at the Polo Grounds from 1963 on a loop … talking about the placards, of course …and this little gem:
    “When the little children start to speak they once said ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa’, but with the fans we got they say the first thing, ‘Metsie, Metsie, Metsie’.”
    Finally the SkillSets get one right.
    Now … to paraphrase the late Bob Murphy … just win the damn game!

  • MetsMom

    My son and I were the first two fans to walk into the HOF&M @ 9:30 am (our newest claim to fame). We were greeted by a line of people – press, Mets brass, etc. It was very exciting! You’re right, this is one thing that the Mets did not screw up. We really enjoyed all of the memorabilia and the video clips. The additions to Citi really make it feel like home. It was like last year they had moved into a new house but had only decorated part of it. Now it’s more fully decorated, and it seems like ours.

    Let’s hope tomorrow is a continuation of all the good vibes of today.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    I’m sure this was a labor of love for those who planned and designed the museum and hall of fame, however, please excuse me for my initial feeling of anger and insult — the only reason for its existance is for business, a Wilpon reaction to quell fan backlash. Fred and Jeff suddenly gave a s–t about our heritage when it started to affect the pocket book.

    So when we see it, we’ll think of those for whom this was a labor of love, not those who thought of it as good public relations.

  • I’m officially calling off my ban on Citi Field in 2010. The Mets did right by us, regardless of whatever inspired the Wilpons to do so.

    I had to stop looking at pictures because they were spoiling surprises. My heart skipped a beat at images of Piazza’s catchers gear and the Shea Bridge plaque.

    I only had one entirely insignificant complaint with the improvements, that being I can no longer have my meeting spot before gametime be “under Piazza” or “under Keith” due to the flood of new faces in Mets Plaza (including a few doubles), but then it hit me: I can make the Grand Slam Single history square my meet-up point! (as the Apple is going to be overrun, and rightfully so) It’s perfect!

    This whole thing may end up as the high point of 2010, but it’s well worth it. It’s a tremendous investment towards the future. Thinking from a TV standpoint, you can bet the first shot you see from any Citi Field game airing on Fox or ESPN is going to be the Apple, panning over to the rotunda. As nice as that is, just imagine for a moment what seeing that image will be like as you sit down to watch the first playoff game at Citi. I can’t wait!

  • Stavros

    This makes me very, very happy. I can’t wait to see it. 2009 was an unofficial boycott year for me, not of the Mets but of Citi Field (I do not live locally). But this year I’m going to make it.

  • JerseyJack

    Great review, Greg. I was priviledged to loan 2 items to the HOF/Museum & was very happy w/ the results. And, to top it off , I got a mention & was quoted in the NY Post today (pg. 5)

    • Thanks for letting the rest of Metsopotamia see what you’ve got, Jack. Very thoughtful gesture. And I dug seeing your name on the display with the Shea Dedication program.

      Post story here.

  • […] happy, joy, joy, the Mets are 1-0, the Mets have a marvelous museum and a ton of Amazin’ accoutrement in our midst and the only problem I have is there was no second consecutive afternoon in the Citi […]

  • JerseyJack

    Looks like Mets Weekly will do a show next week on the new Mets Museum & HOF. Maybe they’ll do a close up on my Shea Dedication program !!

  • Ed Rising

    Greg,
    Thanks for this piece on the Mets Hall of Fame, it was a joy to read. I’m also grateful for the HOF and museum – regardless what inspired it. They did a wonderful job. I especially enojoy the muruals throughout the museum. Now with the Shea Apple out front, It feels like home!

  • […] in the Rain by Greg Prince on 26 April 2010 3:08 pm The Mets Hall of Fame & Museum is Amazin’, Amazin’, Amazin’, yet it has to share honors as the most Amazin’ upgrade at Citi Field in 2010 with the quiet […]

  • […] media guide that never require updating. There was an election for it in January, there’s been a museum housing it since April and there’s been a parade of promotional announcements beating the drum […]