Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Brady's Bunch Plays for Love, Not Money

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Brady's Bunch Plays for Love, Not Money

Article excerpt

Baseball is the purest sport in collegiate athletics. This is strictly hard core, a game largely untouched by money.

College baseball is spartan facilities, raw weather, bad hops. It is spit and salty language flying through the air. It is the ring of aluminum bats.

College baseball is doubleheaders, with 50 faithful fans sitting on uncomfortable metal bleachers. It is four major-league scouts behind the backstop, making notes.

College baseball is an umpire making $42.50 a game. It is free admission, and bring-your-own refreshments. It is a foul ball landing on the tennis courts, with three kids giving chase.

College baseball is a player's girlfriend leaving after the first game, returning with a sack of fast-food lunch before the second game, passing burgers and fries into the dugout.

College baseball has no opening-night Clydesdales, Jumbotron replay boards, paychecks or postgame buffets.

The reward is an occasional daydream.

Who knows? Perhaps one of them will get drafted, receive a small signing bonus and get a chance at minor-league ball. Even then, the odds of making it to the big leagues are remote.

No one minds the obvious.

No one was bothered by the raindrops that fell at the University of Missouri-St. Louis on an overcast Saturday. No one minded the chilling wind that made the Rivermen stuff themselves into bulky satin jackets.

Missouri Southern arrived at Rivermen Field on the UMSL campus after making the long drive from Joplin.

Would those ominous clouds hold? If so, let's play two.

"It beats the heck out of working for a living every day," UMSL coach Jim Brady said. "I just savor seeing this kind of enthusiasm. These kids give you everything they've got."

Brady is a baseball lifer, barking at his players through his walrus moustache or calmly putting his arm around them to make an instructive point.

Brady has surrendered himself to the game knowing that he won't get rich. He doesn't care. Give Brady a lineup card and a 30-man motley crew of stocky outfielders, squat catchers, bow-legged infielders and grungy Jack McDowell-wannabe pitchers, and he has a fulfilling labor of love. …

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