Skip to main content
Below is an advertisement.
A family affair
The Pinder family assist not only the Bandits organisation on and off the field, but take in their players as well
01/26/2012 3:33 PM ET
Dave, Carla, Emma and Toby Pinder with Alex Maestri and Sean Jarrett
Dave, Carla, Emma and Toby Pinder with Alex Maestri and Sean Jarrett (Brisbane Bandits)
This is a picture of your typical Aussie baseball family whose only prerequisite to join is a sense of humour and unwavering commitment to the game. At present, there are six Pinders - four Australian, one American, and one Italian, not including the occasional Japanese umpire.

The dedication of rare families such as the Pinders is the foundation of the Australian Baseball League; the rosters are currently littered with sets of brothers: the Blue Sox Monoroas, Heat's Kennellys and our very own Duttons. The Nilsson empire is a perfect example of Australian baseball communities at their best.

Brisbane Bandits Volunteer Coordinator, Carla Pinder spearheads one of the hardest working families in the ABL. "I am blessed to have such a terrific family," Carla explains. "Of course we all work well together, I am very lucky". Husband David, daughter Em and son Toby are all volunteers for a second season with the Bandits.

As if their commitment wasn't enough, they have adopted two imports, pitchers Alex Maestri and Sean Jarrett. "It's pretty impressive that their whole family has dedicated so much time and energy to the Bandits," 'son' Jarrett explains."We've not only gained two members to the family, but also two new reasons for dad to tell his jokes, all over again," laughs Em.

Jarrett and Maestri are privy to the behind-the-scenes work which ranges from sewing name labels on jerseys to sourcing national anthem singers. Both are amazed at the Pinders commitment having played in organisations where the positions they fill are highly coveted and well paid.

Surprisingly, they aren't American; the Zilmere-based family was introduced to the Bandits in a very Australian way. "When we moved into our current home some 20 or so years ago and our neighbors were Ted and Phyl Roebuck. Ted was a coach for the original Bandits and two of Phyl's sons played." The Roebucks gave the family tickets, Carla explains.

Every Pinder has played baseball at some level in their lives. Carla and husband David were on the same team participating in the recent Masters "no family arguments there, not." says Carla. David grew up with the game, Carla played in the Augural Women's League and Emma, a national champion gymnast, also found time for a season of baseball. Toby is currently with the Windsor Royals in the U20s and Grade-A competition.

Heading the ticket booth, David's enjoyment is secondary, "Most people don't realise that in David's role you see very little of the game," Carla explains. David is parked in the white box an hour before the first pitch where he remains until the eighth inning. Printing tickets takes an astounding three to four hours of his pre-game time.

Confident 19-year-old Em's role demands non-stop participation during every game, from hosting every on-field activity to making sure Buster is in the right place. A natural presenter on the microphone bouncing off game-day announcer Trent 'Coshy' Cosh and Assistant General Manager Whitey Wallace, Em has no trouble walking around the dugout, pulling the players in to line.

At 16, Umpire Assistant Toby, like his mother, is an Accredited Level 1 Umpire. "Toby can be found hanging out in our dugout with balls ready to be given to the home plate umpire, and if someone doesn't show up to wear the mascot outfit, then he helps out there too!" Jarrett laughs. Toby's dedication to the Bandits is best evidenced during their away-games, when he is active on social media asking questions and dissecting plays.

Carla's best role is proud mother, to her two children and 'Honorary Pinders' Alex and Sean. "Alex has been an awesome person to have around, he is a great person and rarely lets the dust settle on an adventure, he is an honorary Aussie, when he has his double pluggers and a Go Card, there is no stopping him".

The family enjoy witnessing Colorado native Jarrett get his head around Australian sayings such as 'You're kidding' whilst attempting an Australian accent and his wicked sense of humor, especially when he is pranking Maestri.

"Alex has asked us how Aussies manage to live past 21 without being bitten or poisoned by some venomous, dangerous creature". One of his Christmas gifts was a Boxing Kangaroo towel, with a rubber snake hidden in it. Recently, when the boys returned from Adelaide, Sean planted a leaf in Maestri's sheets, "as anticipated, there was an explosion" leaving Toby and Sean in hysterics and a very confused Italian.

"They are great family, always laughing and positive!" Maestri obviously not too scarred by his experience. "They go from their jobs, straight to the RNA and are always willing to help people out. All they do is spoil us!".

"The Pinders alone have made this one of the best experiences of my life, and it's going to be hard once I have to leave to go back to America. It's definitely tempting to come back next year again though." Jarrett agrees.

"Coming over to Australia to play ball is a pretty exciting experience, and then being able to be around a great family like theirs day in and day out has really topped it off. I really feel like a part of their family, they have been very welcoming and hospitable."

Jarrett, Maestri and Matsuda, who umpired for the Bandits, shared a traditional Pinder Christmas "You need to imagine ten Aussies and the three international guests playing Cranium until 11:30pm, it was riotous".

Baseball aside, the boys have picked up a few things along the way "Alex has been taught that his 'Mum' is always right and that bats can't play Cricket due to not having thumbs, and Sean, now knows that the top bunk is pretty low for a guy of his height, which he relearns each and every morning." Emma explains.

With their roll-up-your-sleeves mentality, the Pinders have made a lasting contribution to the League, giving the imports an Australian baseball experience they will take home with them, that is, if the Pinders let them leave. "This country is beautiful, but the people make it memorable." Jarrett concludes.

Their days of community service are far from over - Carla is currently running in the Brisbane City Election for Bracken Ridge Ward with her family behind her, approaching this challenge with the same passion and humor as they did this season.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.