Mets Hall Of Fame and Museum

Can We Have Nice Things?

I call books, film, and pieces on Mets history “Mets porn.”  Ask blolleagues like Matt Silverman, Greg Prince and Jason Fry, or even my own husband about random Mets minutiae, and their eyes light up like Ralphie opening his Red Ryder BB gun on Christmas morning.

For a team that is 50 years old, there is enough quirkiness and fun stuff around that makes us unique, and gives us a firm identity in our Mets-ness.

When CitiField opened in 2009, I’m preaching to the choir about how Mets history was little to be found.  Yet, when the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum opened in 2010, with promise of a “1986 Day” honoring Frank Cashen, Davey Johnson, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry, it was a sign of things to come.

A sign that finally, that we Mets history porn obsessed folks would have something to look forward to each year.

Now…

Things are interesting.  Since 2010, we’ve seen one induction, for John F. Franco, though his given middle name is Anthony (You figure out what the F stands for), and that was last season.

It was a foregone conclusion that Mike Piazza, who besides Gary Carter is the best Mets catcher in their history (and prior to Travis d’Arnaud, haha), would be inducted.

Especially this year, with his first year on the HOF ballot.

Till he was famously snubbed because he might have done steroids. He along with a few others.

Here’s the kicker.  When Piazza came to the Mets via the Marlins after spending the first half of his career with Los Angeles, he was coming to greener pastures.  The Dodgers did him dirty.  In a turn of events, the Los Angeles media drove him out of town, questioning his loyalty to the team, and made him the superstar he is today to Mets fans.

I know plenty of Mets fans who were not “Piazza guys.”  Myself, I was a Piazza denier until he was no longer with the team.  It was only then that I realized as a fan, I consistently undervalued what he meant to the organization.

He would no doubt be a Hall of Famer, and he would no doubt be wearing a Mets cap.

When the Mets brought him back in 2008 and 2009 to close Shea Stadium and open CitiField, respectively, he posed with Tom Seaver, he himself done dirty once upon a time by the Mets organization.  We have The Franchise, and the Met Mercenary, but they helped create some of the best Mets memories and history that make us unique.

I get a lot of heat for supporting guys like Jon Niese, who apparently has the personality of gum found on the bottom your shoe.  My argument is – who gives a shit that he’s boring?  Quite honestly, Tom Seaver doesn’t exactly have a reputation of being a “great guy,” and he’s revered to this day.  It happens.

Mike Piazza is a different.  He was cool towards the fans, but seemed to understand his place in Mets history.  When he didn’t show for the Best Mets ceremony last year, it raised a red flag with me.

Not so much for Piazza.  I did hear that he needs to be “paid” for these gigs, but then again, so does Tom Seaver and you don’t hear about that, EVER.  But it was more like Walter Sobchek asking “Are you fucking this up, dude?”

Even the most minute of events the Mets can fuck up.  All we want is to be able to honor our past, put aside any bad feelings and celebrate what little pieces of heaven we have.

Now, of course, we hear that with Piazza’s new book and him rehashing old memories that guys like Jeff Wilpon and Jay Horwitz are butt hurt over some of Piazza’s perceptions, like being encouraged to play with an injury in spring training or not being protected enough by the media.

How many franchise players are asked to aggravate an injury to appease fans by Palm Beach Community College’s finest?  By some guy who had to host an “I’m a Heterosexual” press conference.

It’s a travesty that Mike Piazza isn’t in Cooperstown or at the very least an HOF-elect for 2013.  But what is the real travesty is that Mets, a team that has a hard time honoring their own history if not for the fan movements for bringing it back, won’t even consider retiring his number or putting him in their own ring of honor before he’s honored by Cooperstown.

To me, this shouldn’t even be a question.  Piazza is a Hall of Famer by number, and the Mets need to do him right and bring him for a Mike Piazza Day/Night, retire 31 and get his plaque at CitiField.  And since there are already entrances for Seaver, Stengel, Hodges and Payson, name the Tastes of the Citi section “the Piazza.”

Do Mets fans and Piazza right.  Stop being so butt hurt about things, and honor the guy already.

And P.S.  According to that David Lennon piece in Newsday, Jeff Wilpon has final say in retiring Mets numbers and Hall of Fame inductions.

Jeff Wilpon.

Jeff Fucking Wilpon.

WHAT THE FUCK BUSINESS DOES JEFF WILPON HAVE ON THE SAY OF RETIRING NUMBERS AND HALL OF FAME INDUCTIONS????? SERIOUSLY??!?!? 

Shouldn’t that shit be done by like a Fan Committee or Mets Alumni?  That makes more sense, doesn’t it?

Fucking idiots.

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Fuckin’ Franco

I was never a John Franco fan.  Don’t get me wrong: great guy, local boy gone good, a St. John’s guy (my husband’s alma mater), fun dude.  When the Mets went to the NLCS in 1999, I’ll never forget Franco’s reaction as he ran towards Todd Pratt.  Franco was, in a sense, one of us.  But I still was never a huge fan.

Besides the rumors of his meddling in the clubhouse (which he staunchly denies, but I believe there is an element of truth to it), his part of Jeff Wilpon’s inner circle in his later years, I kind of felt like he overstayed his welcome.  Even in the beginning of his Mets career, he was just okay.  I felt like he was overrated.  But I was outnumbered (see: local boy gone good).  Plus, how can we forget that he was part of the reliever combo that my Aunt Melissa referred to not-so-affectionately as “The Heart Attack Twins” (along with Armando Benitez).

Like most Mets fans though, when he returns, I give him his due.  Nobody likes a party pooper, after all.  Yet, it’s a respect thing.  He spent 15 seasons with the organization.  He’s like the later generation’s version of Eddie Kranepool.  Today, we found out that Franco will be memorialized in the Mets Hall of Fame this summer.

But I mostly cheer him because I have a funny memory surrounding Franco.  It had to do with a game I attended with my dad in 1996.  It was a Sunday doubleheader in I think July of 1996.  NO ONE went to games back then.  Meanwhile, we had tickets in Row X in the Upper Deck.  The usher did take pity on us though, he told us we could move down to wherever we liked since no one else bothered to show up.

The first game was a real snooze fest, but the Mets had the lead going into the 9th inning.  As legend has it, John Franco comes in to “close” and lo and behold, blows the lead, leaving the game tied in the 9th, for the Mets to not come back at the bottom of the inning.

This had to have been one of the most boring games I’d have ever attended.   Meanwhile, Franco blows a perfectly good 9th inning lead.  We didn’t even stay for the end of the game, or the second game of the doubleheader for that matter.  The Mets ended up giving up a few runs in extra innings.  But the greatest gift of the day was from someone sitting in Row X in the Upper Deck.

“FUCKIN’ FRANCO!!!!!” is all we heard after the Mets gave up the runs.  Franco wasn’t in the game at the time, but he gave up a perfectly good lead that led to this.  And led to us not staying for game two.  It was just too exhausting.

Even though Franco is a good dude, I usually say, “Fuckin’ Franco!” whenever I see him or talk about him.  John “Fuckin'” Franco.  Congratulations on making the Mets Hall of Fame.  Despite my personal opinion of you, this is well-deserved and you do a lot for the organization.  I will be at the ceremony, since I celebrate all Mets, and I still like Franco as that “good guy.”  But to me, I’ll always add an “F” as his middle initial, unlike my Aunt Melissa’s term of Franco and Benitez, it is in a loving manner.