BY JOE RINI
After a summer scarcity of wins by the New York Mets at Citi Field, the first day of autumn on September 22 was a victorious day before the first pitch was thrown.
Former Rocklander, Leon Thomas III, one of the stars of Nickelodeon’s hit show, “Victorious” threw out the honorary first pitch for Saturday’s game as part of Nickelodeon Day at Citi Field.
It was an eventful pregame at the ballpark on Saturday. High fiving Teenage Ninja Turtles from Nickelodeon mixed with dozens of young cheerleaders, led by members of the New York Jets Flight Crew. The cheerleaders performed as part of Cheer and Dance Day.
Scores of fans and their dogs paraded around the field as part of “Bark in the Park 2” to benefit the North Shore Animal League America. The honorary first pitch was followed the ceremonial first pitch by Polito Vega, promoting the Megaton Mundial de Polito Vega concert to be held at Citi Field on September 30.
The 19-year old Nickelodeon star, Leon Thomas, now lives on the west coast with his family. Thomas lived in Rockland as a youngster before moving to Brooklyn on his way to the bright lights of Broadway, where he appeared as Young Simba in “The Lion King” at the age of 10.
After appearing in two more Broadway shows and the movie “August Rush” with Robin Williams, Thomas made his to television debut and has starred on “Victorious” since the show began in 2010.
A talented singer and songwriter, Thomas performed songs he wrote as an opening act for Big Time Rush’s concert tour this past summer. For budding young performers looking to succeed in this business, Thomas recommends staying “focused and hopeful.”
Thomas was joined at the ballpark by his grandparents and current Rockland county residents, John and Naomi Anthony. When asked from which of his grandparents he inherited his performing talents, he proudly said both of them.
After serving in the navy, John Anthony sang with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus and its famed conductor, Robert Shaw, the premier choral group of its era.
The group’s rendition of Handel’s “Messiah” is considered to be the definitive version by many. John later performed with the Metropolitan Opera in the 1980’s and 1990’s. His wife Naomi is a singer, author, storyteller, and noted watercolor artist.
Mrs. Anthony marveled at how Leon was a performer at the young age of three and how exciting it was to see him in concert this summer. She and her children and grandchildren recently sang together in a multi-generation performance at her church.
Following the parades and the honorary and ceremonial first pitches on Saturday, R.A. Dickey pitched into the ninth inning and knuckled his way to a 4-3 Mets victory over the Miami Marlins, notching his 19 th
win of the season.
As the waning 2012 season marches to the history books, Dickey will seek to become the first Mets pitcher to win 20 games in a season since Frank Viola in 1990 and make his case for the Cy Young award with his next scheduled start on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
After a mystifyingly bad stretch that saw the Mets drop 24 of 28 games at home, they swept the Marlins and defeated the Pirates in the opener of the final home series. After the Pirate series, the Mets conclude the 2012 season on the road with six games against the Braves and Marlins.