Student Hopes To Hit Home Run With Baseball Club

NEIU’s baseball team notably won the 1996 Mid-Continent Conference championship and secured an NCAA Tournament bid. Michael Brazeau, a Junior studying History, is hoping to bring quality baseball back to the school.

Brazeau is a self-described “lifetime baseball player” with a passion for both playing and coaching, two things that led him to captaining NEIU’s club baseball team.

His goal is to ditch the whole “club sport” vibe and help bring the team to legitimacy. “ I want to ditch the club (name) as it is a descriptive negative. It implies we are not legit in the eyes of athletes,” Brazeau said. “ But I have to work within the structure that I am in.”

He also ultimately hopes to remove the “club” entirely from athletics at Northeastern. “If we, as a club, have to pay to have a collegiate team for insurance reasons, then I encourage the school to let me know the cost and would look forward to meeting that goal and have an official collegiate team,” he said. “I would hope as a byproduct, other sports such as basketball and soccer would follow my lead as I lay down a path for them.”

That club structure currently hinders his ability to complete the goal of bringing a sustainable program to Northeastern. The team currently practices on the field on the southwest side of campus, but they share the field with soccer and high school baseball. “I want to hold a tournament at NEIU this spring with other universities coming over to play a weekend tournament,” he said.

The team currently doesn’t have any scheduled tournaments as Brazeau is building from scratch in his first semester at NEIU. “This is my first semester (back in school) after 4 years off.  The first day of class I went to the P.E. Complex and inquired about a team,” he said. “I was told there is nothing but if I would like to create a club team I am more than welcomed.”

Despite the lack of scheduled games thus far, Brazeau has been quite successful in acquiring interested players. He has gotten inquiries from 30 students, some experienced players, some not.

“The club open to anyone who wants to learn how to play or just drop in for batting and fielding practice,” he said. “Ideally, I would like there to be enough members so we can have a few teams to play each other and teams of different skill levels.”

Brazeau has established a very welcoming environment for all students–the club has several female and foreign exchange participants. There are also ways to get involved outside of actually playing. There are positions available no matter what your interests are including scorekeeper, photographers, videographers, promoters and fundraisers. “If you have skills in a certain area, I will find a place for you to use those skills to network and be apart of a system with multiple outlets,” Brazeau said.

Brazeau lives his passion outside of NEIU as well. He is a certified coach with experience at the Latin School of Chicago. He also created a non-profit organization, Rad Baseball that offers free baseball clinics and games for kids of all ages across Chicagoland. “No equipment, no problem. I have stuff for kids to use,” he said. “My main goal was to take away any excuse a child might have not to play baseball.”

He is waiting for approval to begin hosting winter baseball clinics to raise funds for equipment, jerseys and fees for our spring season. The team is hosting a bake sale today, Nov. 4. They are also always asking and welcoming donations. Equipment can be dropped off to Assistant Athletic Director Christian Kopp at the P.E. Complex.

Despite some hindrances, Brazeau is excited about the potential future of baseball at NEIU and truly believes a real athletic program is not unfeasible.

Athletes are often compared by their legacies when their careers are over. For Brazeau, that lasting impression will hopefully be a return to the success of that 1996 NEIU team.