McCarthy making a name for himself with Pigs
Pat McCarthy, son of Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy, is making a name for himself with the Pigs. CHUCK HIXSON/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Just a few days after being born, Pat McCarthy was introduced to minor league baseball. His mom took him to the offices of the Trenton Thunder where his dad, Tom McCarthy, was the team’s broadcaster and assistant general manager.
While the 23-year-old doesn’t have any memories of that first introduction to baseball, he does remember his dad’s going-away party when he was hired to do the Phillies pre and postgame shows on radio.
Eventually, the elder McCarthy would wind up being the Phillies lead television broadcaster, and Pat McCarthy would continue a family tradition of attending The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) after a year at Syracuse University. The McCarthy family figured out that there are at least 23 family members who have attended TCNJ at one time or another, including McCarthy’s parents.
“There’s a joke in my family that you don’t necessarily have to start at TCNJ, but you have to finish there,” said McCarthy, whose brother and sister are currently attending TCNJ.
McCarthy played baseball at Allentown (N.J.) High School and in college, but admittedly wasn’t very good. His brother Tommy is a senior at TCNJ and was named the New Jersey Athletic Conference Player of the Year this past season. The two played together at TCNJ for a season, but for Pat McCarthy, baseball wasn’t in the cards, especially after suffering a back injury.
Even with his love for the game of baseball and his early introduction to the sport and to broadcasting, McCarthy had a different plan in mind. At one point, he even considered following his mom’s career path as a teacher.
“My first love was marine biology and from there, I diverted to wanting to be a history teacher. I’ve always loved history, it was my best subject,” remembers McCarthy. “Then I started taking TV production classes as a [high school] sophomore and started doing some on-air stuff and off-air stuff and I thought ‘OK, this is a lot of fun.’”
One reason he wasn’t interested in broadcasting was because he saw how much time it took his dad away from the family and that wasn’t something he wanted for his future. Then, in the summer of 2011, his dad allowed him to fly with the Phillies to see a series at historic Wrigley Field in Chicago. That’s when his career path changed.
“It was so cool, I’m on the plane and I’m seeing all these guys walking by, Halladay, [Cole] Hamels, [Ryan] Howard; I had gotten to know them but still, it clicked and it was just like ‘wow, this is what it’s all about,’” remembers McCarthy. “I started realizing that this was the reason why he travels so much, why he’s not always home, because it’s providing us memories that we’re never going to forget.”
McCarthy’s broadcasting career began in earnest as a college sophomore at TCNJ when he started broadcasting everything but baseball. He went on to graduate with a degree in communications and sent out a number of emails and resumes looking for a job in baseball. The Reading Fightin’ Phils took a chance on him for the 2017 season and he proved his worth. This season, he moved up to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs as one of the team’s radio broadcasters and media relations assistant.
“I can’t thank the people at Reading – [general manager] Scott Hunsicker, [media director] Mike Ventola and [assistant media director] Greg Caserta – enough,” said McCarthy, who is still close to the gang at Reading. “Then Kurt [IronPigs GM Kurt Landes] and Matt [Provence, the IronPigs media director] took a chance on me here, and it’s been an amazing two years. It means so much to me that the people at Reading and here at Lehigh Valley have given me these opportunities.”
Like minor league players, McCarthy looks to wind up in the majors at some point down the road. When or where that will be is yet to be determined, but he’s good enough to make the jump. He loves doing radio because it gives him the opportunity to fill the dead moments with thoughts and facts about the game, describing everything that’s going on. He admits that TV would be fun, simply because it’s television and that’s generally where you want to be as a broadcaster. Truth is though that either would be fine with McCarthy.
Ironically, he isn’t so sure that he’d like the idea of working with his dad. Last winter, the two had the opportunity to broadcast a Princeton basketball game and it was admittedly one of the highlights of McCarthy’s young life, which is exactly why he isn’t so sure that he wants to recreate the moment.
“At first, I was a little weird about it,” McCarthy said. “But then it really clicked and a light bulb went off and you never know if you’re going to get that opportunity again, so it was so much fun. We had an absolute blast. I almost don’t want it to happen again because it was so much fun and it was such an opportunity that you don’t know what it would be like again and if it would be as great.”