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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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The Ultimate Sunday Afternoon Quiz

What distinguishes every Mets “game go” that involves me and my friend Mark Simon?

As was the case on Sunday afternoon, when Mark and I went to Citi Field to ostensibly watch the Mets play the Mariners, each of us brings several, perhaps many Mets-based trivia questions to ask one another.

What’s the purpose of these trivia questions?

Less to stump one another than to pose a fairly impossible query that is then broken down through a series of somewhat reasonable hints meant to make answering possible, lest the initial impossibility factor break the spirit of he to whom the question is posed.

Can you give me an example of one of those questions?

“Who was the last Met batter Doc Medich ever struck out?”

Why would anybody ask that?

Because this year’s theme was Doc, Doc and Darryl, in honor of Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry having their numbers retired…and Doc Medich conceptually being along for the ride.

Yeah, but how the hell would anybody remember who the last Met Doc Medich struck out was?

The point of the question is not to elicit the correct answer off the bat — though if it’s gotten immediately, more power to the answerer — but to peel the clue onion down to its last layer until the answer is obvious. Like if you say, “he was traded for a 1969 Met,” you might think the answer was Jesse Orosco, because Jesse Orosco was traded for Jerry Koosman.

Is the answer Jesse Orosco?

Um, no.

Does the answer ever become obvious?

Not really. But spirits stop just shy of reaching their breaking point.

So what’s the answer?

The answer is to live a rewarding life of Mets fandom that makes you interested in asking or answering who was the last Met Doc Medich ever struck out.

No, I mean, who was the last Met Doc Medich ever struck out?

Pepe Mangual. He was acquired for 1969 Met Wayne Garrett.

Why would anybody want to know that?

Because of the companion question.

Why was there was a companion question?

Companion questions are the lifeblood of this ritual.

What was the companion question?

“Who pinch-hit for Doc Medich in Doc Medich’s only start as a Met?”

Who was it?

Here’s a clue: his name came up about 30 seconds ago.

Um, Wayne Garrett?

No! Pepe Mangual! The same player who was Doc Medich’s final Met strikeout victim was also the player who pinch-hit for Doc Medich in his only Met start!

What did Pepe Mangual do when he pinch-hit for Doc Medich?

Pepe Mangual struck out.

And you and Mark asked each other these types of questions at the game Sunday?

Only for about the first five innings. We also compared notes on dietary restrictions.

You guys must’ve gotten a kick out being on hand for Pete Alonso’s 40th home run, huh?

We noticed it, even if kind of got in the way of our trivia and foods we avoid.

What about Pete’s 41st homer and hundredth RBI?

We were out of questions by then, so we ate that up with a spoon. Yessir, Pete had the bulk of our attention, though maybe not the scoreboard operators’, because they didn’t seem to ballyhoo No. 100 in the ribbie department with any kind of informational graphic. I don’t care what you think about “counting stats”. A hundred runs batted in is a hundred runs batted in, and that should have been spotlighted. Met trivia buffs we may fancy ourselves, but without confirming it on our phones as Alonso rounded the bases, neither Mark nor I was 100% certain the most amazing power hitter we’ve ever had wasn’t up to “only” 99 RBIs.

How about that Pete Alonso?

My friend and I agreed the Mets need to extend Alonso long-term this winter for every obvious reason — yet if they somehow discern they can’t, like if Pete wants to play “closer to home” à la Jerry Koosman wishing to pitch in Minnesota following 1978, or he’s yearning to test his value in free agency — that the only package they should accept in trade is something that brings them a young pitcher on the level of Noah Syndergaard circa 2016 and a contemporary all-around young star like Austin Riley. And nobody’s going to give you that.

”How about that Pete Alonso?” was more of a rhetorical question, but can you honestly imagine the Mets trading Pete Alonso or letting Pete Alonso go?

I can imagine anything, I suppose, especially when Pete is waiting two weeks between his 39th and 40th homers, but then he waits only four innings between his 40th and 41st homers, and no, of course not. But once you’ve lived through every prominent Met not named David Wright or Ed Kranepool not playing his entire career as a Met, the imagination runs wild, or at least takes a Sunday stroll.

How was the rest of the game?

I’d say Mark and I swapped some pretty good questions.

No, I mean being at the Mets’ 6-3 win over the Mariners?

Oh, that was awesome. We took a series from a contender, though it’s hard to call it being a spoiler when by all rights we should have no business having anything to do with the American League West race. There were more Mariners fans on hand than you might expect, but, thankfully, not too many people in general.

What do you mean “thankfully”?

I like going to Sunday afternoon games, but I don’t dig huge Sunday crowds. When Mark and I sought a game for what he calls our annual game go, I suggested this one with the idea that the Mariners carry a relatively low local profile; there was no giveaway scheduled; it was a holiday weekend that might scatter people’s interests away from Citi Field; and the Mets at this point of the season are, you know, the Mets. We lucked out in terms of manageable demand and really lucked out with seats that were just shaded enough from a convincing September sun. It was pretty hot, though not as steamy as the last time Jerry Koosman pitched at Shea, which he did long after that trade to Minnesota, because Jerry Koosman apparently decided retiring as a Twin wasn’t the be-all and end-all of his post-Met career.

You rarely have a kind word for Interleague play, so why did you want to see the Mariners?

That was actually the biggest reason I wanted to go. The Mariners were the only AL team I’d never seen at Citi Field since it opened. The ballpark opened in 2009 and Seattle hadn’t alit in our presence until 2022, a series we were defeated that I didn’t attend. Saw them twice at Shea, seen them on the road in a couple of places, but not at Citi. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a gaping void in my current edition of The Log, but it was a void. Now it is no longer. One “Seattle (A)” has been dutifully scrawled under “OPPONENT” within the pages of my steno pad of record.

Despite the everybody-plays-everybody ethic of our times, you still denote Interleague opponents with a parenthetical A?

Quaint, I know. But I innately don’t expect to see the Mets play anybody who doesn’t share the National League standings with them.

Anything else you didn’t expect to see yesterday?

Well, I somehow didn’t expect to see Ronny Mauricio, because I assumed Buck would want to rest a rookie who had just lit up the first two major league games he’d played, but it was a nice surprise to see him not benched. I didn’t necessarily expect to see Dominic Leone pitching for his third team at Citi Field this year, and, honestly, we were so deep into our trivia that I didn’t notice Leone come in or realize that was him giving up Jeff McNeil’s laser beam of a home run to right. I also wasn’t expecting to see Mr. Met on the EnormoVision screen at the center of a prerecorded celebratory hora. Nice touch for Jewish Heritage Day.

Isn’t “prerecorded” the same thing as “recorded”?

A phrase is a phrase. Ask me a real question.

Did you see a lot of US Open fans?

Judging by garb, a few decided to make what I’ll assume was a day-night doubleheader out of baseball and tennis, and I appreciate that kind of bi-sport curiosity on behalf of tourists or even Mets fans with split focus. On the 7 on the way in, I heard somebody ask “where do we get off?” and without looking up, I realized they were tennis people. Once I did look up, there was no doubt about it. They’re all so much, I don’t know, cleaner than we are.

Did you offer them directions?

I figured they’d figure it out for themselves. I always have to tamp down the temptation to answer, “eff you is where you get off.”

What do you have against the US Open?

Not much. I just sort of resent the idea that the Mets-Willets Point stop all of a sudden for two weeks every year becomes about something other than the Mets. The same way I resent Mariners fans coming to root against the Mets. I now have proof that such a phenomenon exists. Mariners fans coming to root against the Mets, I mean. I already knew that I’m capable of boiling over with petty resentments.

So you’ve finally ceased reflexively referring to that subway stop as Shea?

No, not really. I still do a two-step in my head, the way I continue to think the Stop & Shop in my neighborhood continues to be a Waldbaum’s.

There haven’t been any Waldbaum’s for quite a while, right?

There also hasn’t been a Shea Stadium stop, per se, or a Shea Stadium for 15 years. But you know how it is. You get used to thinking of something or looking at something a certain way, like when all those Mets wore 36 after Jerry Koosman, yet to you 36 was always going to be Jerry Koosman.

All right, that’s the third time you’ve slipped Jerry Koosman into the conversation — is there something you want to ask me?

If you insist. In his 17 starts following his early departure from the legendary Fourth of July game in Atlanta in 1985, Doc Gooden allowed only 20 runs the rest of the year, and only one of those was driven in by a pitcher. Who was it?

Um, can you give me a clue?

It wasn’t Pepe Mangual.

10 comments to The Ultimate Sunday Afternoon Quiz

  • Michael in CT

    The notion that Pete Alonso will not be a Met for life is the definition of absurdity, especially when the only reason would be money and your owner supposedly has plenty of money to go around. Did I mention that Pete Alonso is one of five players in MLB history with 40 or more homers in three of his first five seasons? There is no replacing Pete Alonso.

  • Guy K

    Dwight Gooden was the opposing pitcher the last time Jerry Koosman started a game at Shea Stadium. It was Koos’ second-to-last start ever in his career, and he gave up 3 home runs in the first inning to the Mets in Aug. 1985.

  • Seth

    If Pete gets traded, I would consider “Seavering” my Mets fandom (a reference to the 6 years or so I boycotted the Mets after they traded away The Franchise). Why are we even having this conversation?

    • The moment that extension is signed, the topic shall be filed away in the vault with “what will it take for the Mets to get Manny Ramirez?” and all other hypotheticals that have come and gone from spaces such as this these past nineteen seasons.

  • eric1973

    I always used to go to Waldbaums with my mother and grandmother. And they put all the food in those giant paper bags!
    Good Times….

  • Mark Mehler

    Once upon a time, the perfect day-night doubleheader was the Mets and the World’s Fair. Tennis was where it belongs, in Forest Hills, where you didn’t have to wait in line for an hour for a $24 helping of tasteless chicken tenders.