Harris' Heroes: Home Run Baseball Camp's 'Coach Mac'

WASHINGTON (WJLA) – As the boys and girls of summer wind down their season, ABC 7 News visited D.C.’s Home Run Baseball Camp to see what makes it so special—its director, John “Coach Mac” McCarthy.

For 21 years, McCarthy has been teaching kids about baseball and life, as camp director, teacher and part-time philosopher.

“Things turn out best when you make the best of the way things turn out,” he said.

Home Run’s main camp, at a Northwest D.C. park, teaches baseball fundamentals with an emphasis on effort, not raw talent. Courtesy and kindness matter.

“If the other team loses, they may, like, cry or they might be down, so you always want to say, like, ‘Good game,’” said camper Mishra.

McCarthy’s coaches were often campers first. Ben Furlong has been at Home Run Baseball Camp for 13 summers of his 17 years.

“All these coaches are like my parents, to me,” said young camper Csedrik.

The camp attracts families of all kinds—policymakers and the not so privileged. McCarthy has never turned away a child whose family cannot pay. The kids play baseball, not politics, he says.

“The subject of economics and who people’s families are doesn’t seem to come up that much,” McCarthy said. “I don’t hear it.”

Home Run has had its share of famous visitors—and famous campers.

Raina Coleman heard about the camp from her uncle, Emmanuel Burriss, who played at Home Run years before he was a Major Leaguer.

McCarthy has big ambitions for his campers and coaches.

“Take those lessons that we learn here—full hustle, empathy, enthusiasm, joy, soul power—and try to find their place in the world,” he said. “Be a good team player on whatever team they’re on.”

McCarthy added that “high spiritual voltage and energy” are all his kids will ever need.