Home run apple a core value for Mets fans

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The Shea Stadium home run apple is taking its place among baseball icons.

The Mets' marquee fruit, which last year was displayed in the rarely used bullpen plaza entrance of Citi Field, is in the process of being moved to prime-time real estate in front of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, said Dave Howard, executive vice president of business operations.

"It'll be a very iconic meeting point," Howard said. "It's something we were happy to do . . . It's going to be great, and very visible."

The red fiberglass apple heralded Mets home runs from 1980 to the team's final season at Shea in 2008. With the new park came a new and bigger apple. But an overwhelming majority of fans polled asked for the old apple and top hat to have its own spot at Citi Field, Howard said. "It was the most popular piece fans wanted to bring back," he said.

The move, which should be completed by late next week, is part of a slew of initiatives meant to make Brooklyn Dodgers-dominated Citi Field more Mets-oriented. The team renamed its three VIP entrances after three members of the Mets' Hall of Fame: Gil Hodges, Tom Seaver and Casey Stengel. "We want to celebrate Mets history and bring more of what the fans wanted," Howard said. "It was always our intention to make refinements . . . Fans have expressed their desires and we've heard them."

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