Adam Reger | Freelance Writer

Pittsburgh-based freelance writer

Tag: Hang up and Listen

I am minimally famous, Part III

It had totally slipped my mind that several weeks ago, I won Hang up and Listen‘s trivia contest for a precedented third time. (Revelry for the first and second times are here and here, respectively.) The question was about mascot overlap between the women’s Final Four, the men’s Final Four, and NCAA hockey’s “Frozen Four.” My answer: in 1985, the Georgia Bulldogs (women’s), Georgetown Hoyas (men’s), and University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (hockey) were all in their respective final foursomes. (“Hoya” is a Latin word, but Georgetown’s actual mascot is, in fact, a bulldog.) Another great, challenging question from the great Mike Pesca.

I am minimally famous, Part II

A few weeks ago I was elated to have won the trivia contest of Slate‘s “Hang up and Listen” podcast. Well, everyone: I did it again.

What’s more, I got some pretty good props, again, from the panelists. My name got spelled out, albeit in support of the same incorrect pronunciation, and they called attention to the fact that I’d won a few weeks prior. (The really satisfying part was when the moderator, Slate editor Josh Levine, cited “HuaL”‘s reigning trivia champ, Carmen Tse, and said that he was probably hearing footsteps. It’s far too soon for me to say any such thing, but I appreciate the suggestion.)

Most gratifying, they gave me a shout-out by correcting the record: as I asserted at the time, I am not a furry. Mike Pesca said that I was beating up a furry in my Facebook photo, which is loosely true (I am ripping the detachable tail off a furry dressed as a gecko). But still. The vindication is sweet, so sweet.

Oh, and here was the trivia question: “During the first half of the 1980s, in major league baseball two players were in the top 10 repeatedly in a major offensive category. These two players have the same name (first and last), with only two letters being different.”

I’m paraphrasing; it was a somewhat confusingly worded question, and I got quite turned around in what it meant that two letters were different (e.g., “If I take all the letters in ‘Tony Armas,’ is that within two letters of ‘Mike Schmidt’?”). But after sifting through lots and lots of baseball stats for the years 1980–1985, what I came up with was this: in steals, Willie Wilson of the Kansas City Royals and William “Mookie” Wilson of the Chicago Cubs showed up on the same list at least once. (They may also have shown up on the triples list, but that seems less of a “major” offensive category.)

A friend asked, after the first trivia win, if I was going to try to be a repeat champ. I said I didn’t think so, that that Dustin Hoffman-themed question seemed like a one-off and, really, the only kind of trivia question I was likely to get. Winning this time has opened the possibility that I can compete when the questions are weird, and more conducive to someone getting obsessed with the question and pursuing it for an hour or two at a time than someone just having lots of sports knowledge. If there are any more of those, maybe I’ve got a chance at future wins.

I am minimally famous

. . . for having won last week’s “Hang up and Listen” (a sports-themed podcast done by Slate writers and editors) trivia contest. I was all aflutter over it late last week, after posting (what I and others believed to be) the correct answer on the HuaL Facebook page. I simmered down over the weekend, but felt a surge of pride and embarrassment at just now hearing my name read out on the podcast. I briefly considered writing to prompt them on the pronunciation of my name (which is Reger as in beggar; unfortunately I haven’t been able to think of a better illustrative rhyme) but didn’t and am glad, because although they got it wrong (Reger as in eager) I find I don’t mind so much.

For posterity, here’s the trivia question: “What do Sparky Anderson, Shawn Kemp, and Dick McGuire have in common?”

My winning answer: “All have nicknames that are Dustin Hoffman character names: ‘Captain Hook’ (Anderson), ‘Reign [Rain] Man’ (Kemp), and ‘Mumbles’ [from Dick Tracy–nice] (McGuire).”

Josh Levin, Slate‘s sports editor and host of the podcast, rightly complimented Mike Pesca, the trivia guru, for an inventive and difficult question. Pesca said that he thought this was his favorite question so far, and I definitely agree.

Update: Perhaps I spoke too soon in my fawning, appreciative remarks about the shout-out I received during the podcast: during the end (or “Cocktail Chatter” or, in this one, “Riggins’s Rigs”) segment, Pesca mentions being impressed by my getting the trivia answer (good), then checking out my Facebook page (worrying), and concludes that I am a furrie (bad, very bad).

He uses this to springboard into a funny, non-Adam-related bit, but still. Let me correct the record right now. Thinking I am a furrie is understandable, given that my photo has me at Anthrocon, grasping the detachable tail of a giant gecko. But readers will note that I am dressed as an ordinary citizen, and for good reason: I am one. To reiterate: I AM NOT A FURRIE.

Thank you for your time.

Later Update: It occurred to me that Mike Pesca’s explanation of how he came up with this trivia question is noteworthy for an extra reason, which is that, by apparent coincidence, he came to the topic of Dustin Hoffman character names a week before the man’s birthday. More synchronicitously, this meant that the podcast appeared the day after Hoffman’s birthday (which is August 8). I saw that while running down the answer: I came to Dustin Hoffman’s Wikipedia page to confirm the names of his characters, and noticed the birth date. “Clever, clever Mr. Pesca,” I thought at the time. Apparently, though, it was mostly dumb luck. Go figure.