Ahwatukee Foothills PONY Baseball Association: Eric McCarthy

Eric McCarthy
Position: Mustang Division Director
Email: ericmccar@aol.com
Profile: Hello AFPBA Families,
I am Eric McCarthy, the Director of the Mustang Division for AFPBA. I moved to Ahwatukee in 2005 with my wife and two children. We own a couple of small businesses and this allows us time to spend with our kids at their different school, sports or charity events. When we moved to Ahwatukee our children were very young and we were not yet involved in any sports programs. As our children grew, we knew we wanted them to make sports part of their lives to help build confidence, teamwork, sportsmanship and to stay physically active. I played many sports growing up and found so many life lessons in doing so. I wanted my children to experience those same lessons.
We researched many baseball programs and settled on PONY due to many differentiators. Having grown up playing Little League, I truly believed that was all that could be offered for my children, PONY was an alternative. What most impressed me was the ability to ramp players up from tee ball division to the Bronco level while keeping the feel of MLB style baseball in effect. The player's field expands as they grow in size allowing them to play continually at higher levels like club or high school programs because the bases expand as they age up. The other big difference I found was the League's desire to do what is best for the player. The knowledge of knowing the coaches are certified in both Concussion and First Aid training makes me feel they put the player's safety first. As the Mustang Director I work closely with the Safety Director and Rules Committee to ensure we are making this a safe environment for our players. The Mustang level is where most young players first experience kid pitch baseball. I worked last year with the coaches to institute a 60 pitch maximum for kid pitchers. We do not want players so young to throw their arm out and not be able to play at a higher level or worse end up with getting surgery by the time they are in high school.
When I was the Assistant Coach for my son’s second year of Shetland, I was really excited to see him grow as a player, teammate and watching him mature with the challenges he faced. After the second season, I really felt invested in not just my son’s growth, but that of his teammates. I volunteered to help out on a larger scale so that the other parent/board members could enjoy more time with their family as well and hope you will do the same. It has challenges as any volunteer position does, but when I see players develop and move from one division to another gaining confidence along the way, I feel proud to be associated with AFPBA.
My son is not in the division I direct, however I appreciate the League more because I witness what happens throughout as a parent/coach in one division and a Director in another.
The most important part of being associated with PONY is the connection with other kids, parents, coaches and Board members. In a small community like ours, we run into each other at grocery store, getting gas or hopefully on the field. These relationships last past the season and transform a league into a community.
I ask parents to understand that we are a fully volunteer league. There are no paid positions, we are all here to help your son or daughter learn to play and enjoy the game of baseball. Please have patience with the Coaches and Umpires, these are thankless jobs and they give so much of their time so your child can learn.
I sincerely hope you enjoy your experience as much as our family has.
Eric McCarthy
AFPBA Mustang Division Director
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