Former St. Joseph Mustangs player Brett Marr has signed a professional contract with the Sioux Falls Canaries of the North Division of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.
Marr announced his decision Friday, then embarked on the 4 1/2-hour drive from St. Joseph to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“It’s exciting, there is a lot going on,” Marr said over the phone. “It’s kind of a whirlwind.”
The Canaries contacted Mustangs coach, Matt Johnson, about two weeks ago saying they are interested, but they wanted to wait and see on the draft, Marr said.
After the draft didn’t work out, Marr weighed his options before ultimately deciding on the Canaries. Johnson, the nine-year manager of the Mustangs, played a big role in where Marr signed.
“The respect that my head coach had for their head coach (Mike Meyer), the way he talked about their program and how he runs stuff, it seemed like it’d be the best fit for me,” Marr said. “I respect my summer coach that if he has respect for a guy, I’ll ultimately respect him too.”
Marr, who played for Rockhurst before joining the Mustangs, isn’t fazed by the unique mascot he’ll now be playing for.
“When I first heard that one, I kind of laughed, honestly,” Marr said. “I was talking to my girlfriend and she called them the tweety birds, but it’s still baseball though, so it doesn’t really matter.”
Marr was batting .311 for the Mustangs with 14 hits, 12 runs and 10 RBIs after batting .324 for the squad in 2016.
“They have a great atmosphere there, it really feels like a semi-pro, professional feel even though you aren’t getting paid and you are in college, but you’re playing night in and night out, knowing the expectations they have for you,” Marr said of the Mustangs.
While the Canaries are not affiliated with the MLB, Marr is hopeful the next level still calls at some point.
Marr is joined by two other St. Joseph ballplayers who signed deals this week. John Millan signed with the Vaqueros UnionLaguna in Mexico. Kyle Uhrich signed with the Gateway Grizzlies, based out of Sauget, Illinois, a suburb of St. Louis.
“Ultimately, the goal for every baseball player is to move on to the next level,” Marr said. “I just want to have fun with it and enjoy getting to play the game still.”