Growing up a fan of the team whose games you call is not a prerequisite for a play-by-play announcer. But it helps, especially when it comes to the Mets, whose followers appreciate those who feel their pain.
Gary Cohen of SNY and Howie Rose of WOR radio surely qualify, and then some. Both are lifers with encyclopedic knowledge of Mets history.
That made them a formidable team for "Beat the Booth with Gary and Howie," a two-episode mini-series testing Mets trivia that SNY recorded earlier this month and will premiere following the postgames Tuesday and Wednesday.
No spoilers here about who won when they faced two teams of avid fans. But it is no spoiler to say it was a nerve-wracking experience.
"These people are studying and preparing and reading," Cohen said between shows. "We have our memories, but these people are obviously rehearsing themselves, so yeah, it's very pressurized."
Rose said he was impressed by the fans' knowledge but added he and Cohen had an edge going in because of their comfort in front of bright lights and cameras.
One of the fan contestants, T.J. Muldoon of Mastic, said "there were no softballs" among the baseball questions.
Muldoon, 45, said he grew up a Mets fan even though his father, Thomas, never gave up his loyalty to the Brooklyn Dodgers. "To my dad, the Dodgers are still on a road trip," he said.
The shows are broken into a series of game-show inspired segments, including ones based on "Family Feud" and "Pyramid." Chris Carlin reveled in his opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream of hosting a game show.
"I grew up watching these things: 'Sale of the Century,' 'The Price is Right,' 'Jeopardy!' of course," he said. "When I would be home sick from school and you'd get to watch those, it was the best."