And It’s Over To You, Dante Sasso

They liked it that he used the word ‘cohesive’
Baseball has been it for him ever since he can remember.

Tune in to the Mets-Phillies game on Aug. 31 and you’ll see an 11-year-old Amagansetter, Dante Sasso, doing some play-by-play in the company of Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, and Gary Cohen, the result of having recently won the NY 529 Plan SNY Kidcaster Contest.

During a conversation at The Star Friday, Dante’s mother, Charlotte, “a lifelong Mets fan” who, with her husband, Bruce, runs Stuart’s Seafood in Amagansett, said that her son “had to write a brief essay to convince a kid who’d never watched them before to watch the Mets. . . . The contest was open to residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.”

In the end, Dante, who’s not sure which inning he’ll get to call, maybe the third, prevailed over 10 finalists, a number that had been winnowed down from scores of competitors.

He read his essay on June 22 in front of a large board of judges at the SNY studio, and then was asked to call two plays screened on a monitor.

“He knew which game it was,” his mother said, “because he’d seen it. He watches all the Mets’ games. The judges were impressed by that.”

Taking over, Dante said, “One was a double play. Darrell Ceciliani — you better check the spelling — made a catch in the outfield and threw home to double up the runner from third. The other one was a hit up the middle, a walk-off hit that broke up Toronto’s 11-game winning streak.”

Asked if he could be anything he wanted in the Mets organization, Dante said he’d want to be the G.M., “so I could hire myself as the manager. Then there’d be a cohesive plan.”

“They liked it that he used the word ‘cohesive,’ ” said his mother.

“I told them I’d move Lagares up to the leadoff spot and put Granderson in the middle of the order,” he said, when asked what changes he’d make.

Asked about trades, Dante said, “I think they should make some. . . . But,” he said, shaking his head like a true Mets fan, “they won’t.”

He’s not utterly despairing (how could he be with the pitchers they have) for Dante has penciled in the Mets, whom he sees coming on in the second half, as one of the 10 playoff teams, in whose number he also includes the Nationals, Pirates, Cardinals, Padres, Mariners, Angels, Kansas City, Detroit, and the Red Sox.

“Not the Yankees . . . ?” said this writer.

“No,” he said.

Ushered out of the studio following his audition, Dante and his mother were led to believe he’d be called back in to do more play-by-play.

“They said they’d had a problem with the camera, that they were going to use two now,” said his mother, “and they miked him differently, more professionally, with a mike under the shirt. He thought he was still auditioning, but then Keith Hernandez came out from the wings to tell him he’d won. Dante was speechless, which is very rare for him. For me too.”

Almost reflexively, this writer and Dante’s mother recalled, when Hernandez’s name came up, how Mookie Wilson’s slow roller up the first baseline had won the 1986 World Series’ sixth game in the 10th inning.

Dante has been smitten by baseball ever since he can remember. Baseball is it for the Little League Rangers’ left-handed first baseman who loves to run the bases. When asked, he said he didn’t see himself as a major leaguer some day. Maybe, though, in a front office job.

“He won’t need Tommy John surgery for that,” said his mother. “He’s also coming up with a different statistic to measure pitching. . . .”

“No, no, Mom,” Dante said.

“He doesn’t think wins are a true measure. . . .”

“No, Mom, no.”

It was Keith Hernandez, the Mets announcer, left, who told Dante Sasso, above with his parents, Charlotte and Bruce, that he’d won.