For years, every time I saw Anthony Causi’s face flash across my TV screen in some jubilant remote clubhouse or locker room I thought to myself …
Working on opposite sides of the tabloid war, Causi as a photog for the New York Post and me as sports editor of the New York Daily News, I knew our backpage that next day would get smoked.
With budget cuts hamstringing the News’ ability to send photographers across the country, I was limited to using wire service images of champagne drenched Yankees or Mets. But seeing Causi in the background, doing what he does best, I knew that the Post would have an incredible shot, players he would have together, bottles in hand, as though they knew who he was and exactly what he needed.
They did know Anthony J. Causi. Everyone did. I knew Anthony. I even worked with him, back when I was a copy editor at the Post, about 20 years ago, typing his name into countless photo captions.
He was prolific, and seemingly everywhere.
There was the spring training of 2016 when the Mets were coming off their first appearance in a World Series since 2000. But this camp wasn’t so much about finishing the deal, after losing to the Royals in five games, this was all about Yoenis Cespedes, and his daily auto show.
And when Cespedes pulled up one day in a Polaris Slingshot, a futuristic open-air three-wheeler, there was Causi, riding shotgun, camera in hand. I knew he would have great photos of Cespedes driving and video of the experience. And the News would have nothing.
Causi later spent time on Cespedes’ Florida farm, getting photos of him dressed like a Cowboy.
And he got an image of Mariano Rivera, shot from behind as the closer took to the field at old Yankee Stadium in front of a sell-out crowd.
And he got a poignant image of Derek Jeter heading toward the field beneath the stands, touching the sign with Joe DiMaggio’s famous quote, “I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee”.
More recently, I knew that Causi had been fighting COVID-19 for several weeks. The last report I’d received was via Facebook, a plea from his wife, Romina, to anyone working at Northwell Manhasset Hospital to help him, to talk to him, pray with him.
Or just hold his hand.
A friend learned that a nurse saw the post and found Anthony and held his hand. My friend told me that he was not out of the woods, but was stable.
I imagined that I would soon hear that he was going home.
But late last night, I saw his face come up on Twitter and on my TV, as friends and colleagues announced his passing.
Anthony J. Causi, a phenomenal photographer, and overall great guy, who, for years, made my life as a competing sports editor hell, died of the coronavirus on April 12, 2020. He was 48.
He left behind a wife and two small children.
A GoFundMe page to help support Anthony Causi’s family was created here.