How Dante Reached the Flat Screen

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Yesterday in this forum, I wrote of Dante Sasso, age 11 of Long Island, the boy who won a contest and broadcast half an inning from the Mets’ TV booth. I was under time constraints and hadn’t been able to find the prize winning essay Dante wrote.  Shortly after that piece went to press, I was able to contact his mom, Mrs. Charlotte Sasso, a kind woman who sent me a copy of her son’s theme. By way of explanation for readers from outside the New York area, SNY is SportsNet New York, the Mets’ cable-tv outlet. Gary is Gary Cohen, Columbia alum and Mets’ TV play-by-play man. Keith and Ron are Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling, the two Mets’ color commentators and both former Mets’ players from their glory days in the 1980’s. A final explanatory note, the phrase “Put it in the books,” as it appears in his theme is Mets’ radio broadcaster Howie Rose’s signature call when the Mets win-which they have done more often this year than in any year since 2008. Dante’s composition follows:

“Do you like action? Rooting for underdogs? Then you’ll love watching Mets baseball on SNY! If you’re new to baseball, you’ll learn the rules from Gary’s expert calls. Keith’s and Ron’s colorful commentary will give you the inside pitch on playing winning baseball. This is the year to tune in as the Mets’ pitchers strike out the world! See Amazin’ defense and miracle offense before we put it in the books. One hundred words is barely enough to share my enthusiasm, but watch a game with me and you’ll agree “Ya Gotta Believe!”

This kid’s a born advertising man if he can’t make it as a broadcaster or team general manager. He even dug back into the archives and found Tug McGraw’s 1973 Mets slogan “Ya Gotta Believe!” How many boys of 11 do you know who can put down the video games, iPads, tablets and other things  long enough to do that? Will he still be able to do that in 3 or 4 years, or will he be asking his dad Bruce, “Dad, how can I tell if (insert teenage girl’s name) likes me?” For now, if you ask him, Dante’s peak moment in life will be Monday, August 31, 2015 when he called the bottom of the third inning of a game where the Mets beat the Phillies. Congratulations, Dante.

Washington’s Ongoing Meltdown

There’s no nuclear facility within 30 miles of  the nation’s capital, but ask any Nationals fan and he’ll say there’s a meltdown going on, and it continued last night. As they did in 2014, the experts said the Nationals would walk off with the division title and go straight to the World Series. As in 2014, that isn’t close to happening.

Last night looked like a winner early on for the Nats, as they jumped out to a  4-0 lead over the Cardinals in St. Louis. The Cardinals had the idea to rest starting pitcher Carlos Martinez for the stretch run. His back has been balky and he’s pitched more innings this year than ever. Good idea except his replacement, September call-up Marco Gonzales was in the showers before the third inning was done. Joe Ross, the Nats’ starter didn’t get the memo that a 4-0 lead should be safe in a big park like Busch Stadium.  He walked four batters in a row and  got an early exit with 3 Cards runs against his name before the third inning was over. Fast forward to the last of the 8th, Nats up 5-3, enter Drew Storen. The former Stanford star was once the closer for the Nats, but now who knows what he is in the chaos of the struggling Nationals (18-26 since the All-Star Break.) He allowed the two tying runs in the 8th. The last of the 9th saw tall right-hander Casey Janssen enter the game. Like the engineer Casey Jones in the old song, Janssen drove the Nationals’ train off the rails, allowing a 3-run home run over the center field fence by Cardinals’ Brandon Moss. Ball game. The prohibitive favorite as the year began is a single game above .500, and is only in the same area code as the Mets because the Mets picked the right night to lay a monster egg. Their 14-8 loss to the woeful Phillies at Citi Field keeps the Mets up by 6.5 games. We can assume the wild card team will come out of the NL Central which is more stacked than a sandwich from the Carnegie Deli. So the Nats won’t even see postseason ball unless they catch the Mets. But that’s just baseball-as I see it.

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