Brady Woods has become fully acclimated to Tulsa, Oklahoma, he has a jones in his bones for Wanda Js on Greenwood. Woods is the Tulsa Drillers Baseball team Clubbie. Having overcome the adversity of his brother, his brothers’ wife, and their 2 young children being killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 from Scotland. Woods is a consummate overcomer of any curve ball thrown his way.
Woods graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with sights set on being a sports agent. Like most fresh out of college graduates, Woods needed a job, so he became a letter carrier for three years. One year in Mississippi then was transferred to Florida. In 1994, he began working at the local boys and girls club. Woods worked there until a freak, life-changing incident happened in 2000.
“I woke up one morning and thought I had something in my left eye,” Woods said. “I kept rubbing it thinking it would go away.” Three days later, Woods lost sight in his left eye. He was diagnosed with a rare eye disease and underwent surgery immediately. “The doctor told me I was probably going to lose vision in my right eye too,” Woods said. “Three months later, I lost sight in my right eye, underwent another surgery and lost my sight completely for 11 months.” Fortunately, Woods eyesight steadily came back in his right eye. He described first seeing white – which he said hurt – then shadows then colors then started focusing. “[Handling eye problems] was a process with two small kids and my then wife had to quit her job,” Woods said. “But I’m very fortunate. A lot of players don’t even know I’m blind in one eye. I don’t use it as a handicap. I had a great support system that helped me out a lot and were pulling for me.”
One of those people was Clarence Weatherspoon who was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1992. Woods became friends with Weatherspoon at Southern Mississippi. When Weatherspoon signed with the Miami Heat as a free agent in 1999, Woods asked him to let him know if the Heat had a position available. “Clarence let me know the Heat had a team attendant position available,” Woods said. “Clarence helped me get my foot in the door with the Heat. Miami was making some changes, and that’s how I got my start.”
From 2001-2006, Woods worked as the team attendant in the visiting locker room. “I got to see all 32 teams,” Woods said. “It was great to work with different players all the time.”
Woods explained the biggest learning curve involved being perfect on the job. “Pat Riley ran the organization almost like a mafia type family,” Woods said. “I learned the ‘Heat Way’ very quickly and did my job perfectly because I had the fear of messing up. You had to be perfect with the Heat.”
After the Heat won the NBA Championship in 2006, Woods moved to Atlanta and worked for the Hawks for two years. “We didn’t like Atlanta,” Woods said. “From 2006 until LeBron [James] made his decision to come to Miami, I followed his path to ‘The Decision’ then I kind of made a decision too.” Woods called the Heat and asked if he could come back; they welcomed him back.
Woods shared the first thing his boss with the Heat told him that has stuck with him today, “Brady, players are very funny. When they ask you to do something, and you do it the way they want it done, they won’t ever forget. And the next time they come back they’re going to be your best friend, and they are going to look for and ask for only you.”
And Woods made sure he did just that explaining he has a very, very good memory.
The ultimate athlete Woods explained getting to meet was Michael Jordan when MJ was with the Wizards. “When I saw him, it was like he wasn’t walking…he was floating,” Woods said. Woods went on to say Jordan wore a new pair of shoes each quarter. (QUARTER!) “Near the end of each quarter, I would lace up the new pair,” Woods said. “At the end of each quarter, I would take the worn shoes and go lock them up with security with me.”
Woods said Allen Iverson wore so much jewelry he had his own security with him, and watching him take it all off, piece by piece, was a 15-minute show.
When Ray Allen was in town, Woods said he had to be ready to get a work out in before the game because he would go and rebound for Allen’s pre-pregame shots.
Woods was back with the Heat from 2010-2013 and won another championship in 2012. Woods made an hour and half commute from Palm City to Miami when the Heat had a home game. “I was getting burnt out with the commute,” Woods said. “One day, I pulled off the exit and gave my resume to the Palm Beach Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals High-A).”
And so began Woods start in minor league baseball. Woods left the Heat in the midst of a playoff run in May 2013. The PB Cardinals and Jupiter Hammerheads (Marlins High-A) shared a field so Woods was the clubhouse manager (clubbie) for both, so he was thereeveryday. “The hardest part of that job was making sure I had on the right uniform,” Woods said.
Around May 2016, Woods son was diagnosed was epilepsy, and he left the PB Cardinals while everything was getting figured out. PB Cardinals hired someone else, and right before the 2017 season started the Tulsa Drillers clubbie position became available. Woods sent in his resume, got a recommendation from the PB Cardinals and got the job.
A day in the life of Woods looks like this:
12:30 – Whole Foods catering arrives, set food out and get locker room ready
1:30 – Players start coming in and asking for Woods to take care of things (cleats cleaned, pants fixed, etc.)
3:00 – Start making sure everything is ready in the bullpen and on the field for batting practice (water, baseballs out, etc.)
4:30 – Put snacks out
5:30 – Make sure everyone is set on the pass list; take pass list to will call
5:45 – Take seven-dozen baseballs to the umpires; ask if they need anything
6:30 – Get dressed, go out for national anthem and watch first inning
7:00 – Finish the laundry, throw away pre-game meal, pick-up locker room, etc.
8:30 – Whole Foods catering brings post game meal; put food in hot box
In between anything, Woods is folding towels, watching the game and any
thing else that needs to be taken care of.
Following the game, Woods is doing more laundry. He said he averages about a 1 – 2 a.m. bedtime. Then comes an early wake-up call to do it all over again the next day.
When the Drillers are away, Woods is still taking care of needs. He’ll check and distribute the mail daily, look for mail, detail cars if requested and on and on.Woods explained minor league baseball holds more responsibility and more things to do than NBA basketball. “NBA players had a sense of entitlement cause they’ve already made it. Minor league baseball players don’t so they come and ask me for things instead of telling me to go get this or go do that,” Woods said. “[In minor league baseball] basically I have 35 grown kids – I have to feed them, make sure their uniform is clean and take care of any other problems or needs they have – the word no is not an option. Whatever they come to me for I have to make sure it happens; that’s the biggest challenge for me. I just enjoy taking care of the players.”In the Dodgers organization (and most organizations), the players pay the clubbie. In AA Tulsa, the players pay Woods $10 per day. Woods will work during the season then move back to Florida during the off-season. “This, the Tulsa Drillers, is the best job I’ve had,” Woods said. “The people here are great and just everything fits. It would be really hard to leave here.”Woods describes his job as a dream with his worst fear being not checking a back pocket before the wash and gum being left in there. “That would ruin the pants and my time schedule,” Woods said.
Woods jokes he should write a book with everything he has seen and heard over the years. “These jobs in sports I’ve done are very unique [because I’m] behind the scenes in something everyone else doesn’t see,” Woods said. “I’ve gotten rings, and I’ve been a part of the champagne showers after championships. Players realize I’m a part of this team too, and no phrase is better than ‘You da man, Brady.’”
Personal story: Matt Beaty came in after a 14-inning game covered in red dirt from head to toe on the white uniform. Matt said to Brady, “I don’t think you’re going to be able to do this one.” Brady said he worked on it and washed it twice and on the second dryer cycle was watching the dryer and knew the dirt came out. “I was sitting there like please please stop because I can’t wait to send him a picture,” Brady said. Brady texted Matt a picture of the clean pants asking if Matt got dirty tonight because he couldn’t remember. Matt texted back and said, “You da man, Brady.”