By Laura Amato
Gary Cohen and Howie Rose both grew up as New York Mets fans.
Fast forward several decades, and the two are now among the most recognizable voices in all of Mets fandom—Cohen serving as the squad’s play-by-play announcer on SNY and Rose as the radio announcer on WOR.
And while the pair may split off to their respective announcing booths when the Mets take the field, they have teamed up once again for SNY’s “Beat the Booth with Gary and Howie,” a trivia show that pits the announcers against some of the biggest New York Mets fans around.
This year’s two-night event will air Tuesday and Thursday directly after Mets Postgame on SNY.
“For me the fun is working with Howie,” Cohen said. “Howie and I did two years together on radio right before SNY started and we have such a great relationship and we have very similar experiences as fans and as broadcasters. So it was tremendous fun those years working with Howie and it’s great to be able to be on his team again.”
While the fans appearing on the show may spend weeks studying facts about their favorite squad, pouring over highlight reels on YouTube and scanning record books in an attempt to pile up knowledge, neither Cohen nor Rose really prepare before the show tapes. This is their life, after all. They’re, quite literally, paid to know as much Mets trivia as possible.
“I might just, with a free moment or two, browse through the back of the media guide to freshen up on categorical leaders or something like that,” Rose said. “A lot of it is just a matter of relying on your memory or common sense with a working knowledge of what went on. It’s like studying for the SATs, you can’t really do that.”
Cohen and Rose don’t really see the trivia show as a competition either. If anything, taping “Beat the Booth” is an exercise in synergy for the pair. They’re trying to help each other—not take opposing fans down.
“We can’t control what (the fans) do,” Rose said. “If they perhaps make the kind of mistake that we can pounce on, then we’re happy to do it. We’re just working in sync as best we can and hope the results are there.”
This is the second year in a row that “Beat the Booth” has aired on SNY. Prior to that, the network ran a similar trivia competition, but put TV announcers up against their radio counterparts.
Both Rose and Cohen are quick to agree that the fandom element of this set-up makes the show a lot more enjoyable.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Cohen said. “This is what makes sports what it is, that you have people that are so committed to the team and have this base of knowledge. Howie and I do this for a living, but this is different. These people just love the game and I think that’s fabulous.”
Much like fans, both Cohen and Rose have favorite memories when it comes to the Mets.
Cohen cites the 1999 season as particulary memorable, while Rose called Johan Santana’s no-hitter in 2012 “fabulous” and “mind boggling.”
Still, there’s one moment the broadcasters are anxious to witness, both as professionals and as fans—a World Series victory.
“There are a lot great, dramatic memories, but when those words ‘The Mets win the pennant’ came out of my mouth last year, that took me back to being a kid and playing in the school yards,” Rose said. “It was great to be able to utter those words. But there’s one more call to make as far as I’m concerned, a championship, and hopefully I’ll have the chance to make that.”