It's immediate. You step inside the space and -- vwoom -- the world goes hazy around the edges.
(... Less like you're living in a Hallmark "movie of the week." More like you're looking through the sepia-tinted lens of your own first crush, or the very best moments from your childhood summers.)
And that feeling of warm, dusty, sun-dappled nostalgia doesn't lessen, either. You can pretty much expect it to stick around for a while. (At least until ya handle that craving you suddenly have for peanuts and Cracker Jack).
Green Diamond Gallery is, as its staff says, a place where "baseball hugs ya."
WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT
Now, we could launch right in and take a "by-the-numbers" approach. That would be entirely warranted. What appears to be a relatively nondescript Montgomery storefront is actually the semi-labyrinthal home of some truly brag-worthy stats...
* Largest known private collection of baseball memorabilia in the nation
* Second largest collection in general
Number one? The Nation Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. (Duh.)
* 99 jerseys from Hall of Famers (right around 106 jerseys in total)
* 312 framed portraits of Hall of Famers (all but about 33 of which have been autographed)
* Gloves, helmets, photos, statues, paintings... The "wows" go on & on.
WHAT IT'S REALLY ABOUT
But to boil it down to the numbers and highlights -- notable as they are -- doesn't really do the Green Diamond experience justice.
Except when you view the outfit through a single digit: 1. All but a few of the pieces displayed in the museum have been collected by one man, a Mr. Bob Crotty.
One guy? All this? One guy? ... Yep. One guy.
No foundation here. No association. Not even a consortium of like-minded citizens. Green Diamond is the manifestation of one fella's lifelong passion. That knowledge, that one single fact, just kinda... opens the door.
There's a feeling of deep affection here. On each & every wall, down every corridor, waiting in every corner. Real affection -- genuine, abiding, and persistent. It's almost enough to make you hug baseball right back. (Even if you're not a baseball nut).
Strike that. It's definitely enough.
SOUNDS GREAT. WHEN CAN I GO?
Green Diamond Gallery is a membership-oriented affair.
Perhaps the greatest perk of membership -- aside from the social nights and private tours, of course -- is the collection of monthly events. These presentations roll out some pretty big "baseball luminary" guns (everybody from MVPs to team managers to umpires). January's meeting, for instance, featured Hall of Famer Frank Robinson and Cincinnati Reds team historian Greg Rhodes.
The space also hosts events, typically for organizations, companies, and the like. Looking to razzle-dazzle your board of directors or treat your employees to a wholly different event experience? You might've just found your place.
Other than that, if ya want to see the wonder that is Green Diamond Gallery, you'll have to wait for the org's yearly "open to the public" day. But, hey, a magical experience is well worth the wait. Right?
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Green Diamond Gallery is located in downtown Montgomery at 9366 Montgomery Road (45242). To learn more, visit www.GreenDiamondGallery.com.