PPA Profile: John Piccard, Prospect Park Baseball Association
April 18, 2016
John Piccard, Prospect Park Baseball Association (PPBA) board member and president of SFX Youth Sports, an all-volunteer youth sports league, grew up in Park Slope and spent countless hours playing ball in Prospect Park.
“I loved being outdoors and playing ball with friends from all over the area as a kid, and I am fortunate that I continue to enjoy these same activities today in Prospect Park,” says Piccard.
After getting involved as an assistant coach when his son, now 17, started playing baseball at age 5, Piccard gradually took on more and more responsibilities within the SFX organization as well as within the PPBA. Over the years, Piccard has become a driving force behind the expansion of youth sports programming within the Brooklyn community.
While Piccard has witnessed many changes in Prospect Park over the years, he feels the Prospect Park Alliance’s work to restore and reinvigorate the Park has had a priceless impact on the quality of youth baseball and softball opportunities in Brooklyn’s Backyard. “Conditions in the Park are vastly improved today and offer many more opportunities for everyone to enjoy its beauty,” Piccard explains. “Baseball and softball players are no exception.”
Most notably, Piccard points to the recently renovated Long Meadow Field 1. “It used to be that if it rained on a Wednesday, we might not be able to play on it even by the following Saturday,” recalls Piccard. In addition, he’s equally excited about the upcoming improvements to Fields 6 and 7.
These improvements couldn’t come at a better time according to Piccard. Participation in the PPBA has never been higher. “I’m really excited about the large number of new players we’ve had join in recent years,” he says. “However, I’m especially pleased with the exponential growth of our girls softball program. This is just another example of our efforts to get all kids outside playing ball!”
Clearly, Piccard is optimistic about the future of baseball and softball in Prospect Park. “Kids start playing organized sports at a much younger age these days. We have a lot of five- and six-year-old teams now and those kids don’t use full-sized fields yet.” However, through the partnership between the Alliance and PPBA, “we’re able to provide locations for even our youngest ball players to learn the basics of the game and have fun in the park.