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Jun 29, 2015 11:29 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Amagansett's Dante Sasso Wins SNY Kidcaster Contest; To Appear On TV August 31

Amagansett resident Dante Sasso will be calling a half inning of an SNY Mets broadcast on August 31. CHARLOTTE SASSO
Jun 29, 2015 11:42 AM

Have one conversation with Dante Sasso, and it will quickly become quite obvious why he won this year’s SNY Kidcaster Contest.

The 11-year-old Amagansett resident, who just completed the fifth grade, can barely contain his excitement when he speaks about baseball, whether it’s a game that just happened, the way a lineup is constructed, or even a new statistic that he’s looking to create.

The judges at SNY, which broadcasts televised New York Mets games, saw this in Dante, the seventh winner of the contest, who will now have the golden opportunity to call a half inning on TV with Mets broadcasters Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling on Monday evening, August 31, when the Mets start a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Charlotte and Bruce Sasso, Dante’s mother and father, who own Stuart’s Seafood Market in Amagansett, entered Dante in the contest because they thought he would be a perfect fit for the job. Charlotte Sasso, a lifetime Mets fan, will overhear her son calling plays while he’s playing a baseball video game, or even calling an imaginary game when he’s taking a shower. He’ll also help his East Hampton Little League manager create the team’s lineup, and he’ll also discuss intricate occurrences within a game with an umpire.

“I just know how much he loves baseball, and he does a news show at school, so he’s not a shy kid,” Charlotte Sasso explained.

After applying online, entrants were asked to write a 100-word essay in which they persuade someone who had never watched a Mets game before to do so. Dante said decided he wanted to use Mets lingo, such as “Amazin’” and “Ya Gotta Believe,” in his essay.

Dante wrote: “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!’”

The top 10 essay writers were brought to the SNY studios in New York City on June 22 for an audition in front of a panel of judges. They had to call two separate plays, and they weren’t simple: one was a double play, another was a Wilmer Flores walk-off RBI single that snapped the Toronto Blue Jays’ 11-game winning streak a few weeks ago.

SNY judge and representative Julie Frahm, director of original programming and production, who was on-hand for the selection process, said Dante impressed everyone involved.

“Dante walked into the studio and basically owned the audition—he had no fear—and when we asked him if he could have any position in the Mets organization, he basically gave us a dissertation on why the GM and manager need to be a cohesive unit,” she said. “It was imperative that we select someone who we felt could have an engaging conversation with Gary, Keith and Ron, in addition to calling the half inning, and Dante stood out among the group.”

Dante, the second Suffolk County resident to ever win the contest, found out he had won when Hernandez himself made a surprise visit to the studio and informed him that he would be in the booth in late August.

“When Keith came in, I just kind of froze—and then when he said that I’m the winner, I was, like, in awe,” Dante said. “It was pretty crazy.”

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