Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘During the summer going into seventh grade, I was lucky enough to be picked to be the SNY Kidcaster for that year.’

John Gadamowitz, Greenlawn

“I had the same childhood dream as a lot of kids: You grow up wanting to be the next Major League Baseball superstar or NFL quarterback. But for me, it became clear pretty early on that wasn’t going to be the case for me after I was cut from my middle school baseball team. But aside from my interest in playing sports, I also always had an interest in watching sports and listening to the announcers. I grew up a big Met fan, tuning in to Gary [Cohen], Keith [Hernandez] and Ron [Darling], and they were synonymous with baseball for me. Sometimes as a kid I would throw a game on mute and do my best Gary impression.

“Then, during the summer going into seventh grade, I was lucky enough to be picked to be the SNY Kidcaster for that year [a contest in which a winning youngster gets to call a half-inning of a Mets game with Gary, Keith and Ron]. I entered the contest by submitting an essay about why I’d be a good pick to be the next Kidcaster, and I was picked as a finalist with about 10 other kids. We were brought into the SNY studios, where we talked up some Mets highlights and did mock calls in front of a panel of judges. A couple of weeks later, I was chosen as the Kidcaster.

“When I went on with Gary, Keith and Ron, it was awesome. People always think I’d have been so nervous, but the crazy thing was, I wasn’t leading up to it. I would say it was only about 20 minutes before I went into the booth, that’s when the nerves started to hit me. The experience itself was great. I have nothing but good things to say about Gary, Keith and Ron. They were super welcoming and made me feel comfortable right from the jump. It was everything I could have imagined. I was only 12 at the time, so I wasn’t thinking it was a career move of some kind, but it did put the idea of sportscasting on my radar.

“My high school was Harborfields High School, which has a top-notch journalism program, and they stream their sports games out over the Internet. When I got there, I was invited to join the journalism team after they had gotten wind I was a Kidcaster, which then got me four years of calling games at the high school level.”

As it worked out, I got to work with one team pretty much in my backyard: the Brooklyn Cyclones.

“When it came time for college, I knew what I was looking for when it came time for me to look at schools. The question came down to, ‘Do they have the broadcasting program, and do they have a student radio station?’ and that narrowed my search. I ended up at Syracuse [University] and got to do some great things there. I didn’t cover much baseball, as it doesn’t have a baseball team, but it’s an awesome school for broadcasting. I got to anchor ‘SportsCenter’-style highlights shows of Syracuse sports and cover its other sports teams. Also, the ESPN+ TV network uses student broadcasters sometimes, so I got to call games on there as well. I also worked as an intern covering minor league hockey. My experience at Syracuse was incredible, and I was a May 2023 grad. Outside of school, I also spent my 2021 and 2022 summers in Cape Cod with the Cape Cod Baseball League, which is one of the more renowned collegiate summer leagues. I did play-by-play for one of the teams, the Brewster Whitecaps, so when it finally came time to start thinking about a job, it was pretty clear to me I wanted to go down a play-by-play path.

“Baseball is my favorite sport, so I sent out my stuff to a bunch of minor league teams, and as the business requires, I was ready to go up and anywhere for an opportunity. But, as it worked out, I got to work with one team pretty much in my backyard: the Brooklyn Cyclones [a minor league team for the Mets]. I sent the Cyclones my resume, reel and cover letter, and after having a chat with them, I ended up getting a job with the team. I’m pretty sure it was my resume and collegiate experience they liked, and I can’t say for sure my being a Mets fan helped at all, and while being a Kidcaster was an amazing opportunity, it wasn’t very high on the list of necessary qualifications; it was more about what I’ve done more recently. I’m now a few months in, and I’m calling home games, plus I help out with media relations stuff. It’s great. It’s a lot of fun. It’s the Mets, and I’m still able to live at home where I grew up and see my family and friends. The organization is incredible, and I work with awesome people. It’s everything I could have hoped for and then some.”

Interviewed by Ian J. Stark