JOPLIN, MO (KPLR)-- Members of the St. Louis Cardinals had the day off Monday after Sunday`s 19 inning game, but some of them were still swinging away, only they were holding hammers instead of bats.
General Manager John Mozeliak, along with Manager Mike Matheny, hitting coach Mark McGwire and team President Bill DeWitt III, were among the redbirds who flew in to help Joplin`s Habitat for Humanity build five houses in just one day.
They also had help from a busload of Springfield Cardinals.
"This community has really been put to the test and it has shown a lot of resolve," said Matheny. "It will be even better when we come back and see this area completely rebuilt."
Mozeliak seemed to welcome the change from his normal Monday routine.
"It is different than my normal day job of answering phones and working in an office but a little sweat equity goes a long way and I am glad we could all be down here to help," he said.
The Cardinals came in response to Governor Jay Nixon`s challenge, asking Missouri`s big league teams to do something big for Joplin. And they have. The Rams, Blues and Chiefs have already been here and for the Cardinals, this is round two.
The first time the Cardinals came to Joplin was just a few days after the tornado hit.
They brought money then, and they brought more money on Monday, handing out $200,000 raised by Cardinals Care, given out to four agencies which are helping the children of Joplin recover.
"It is still a pretty barren landscape but there are signs of rebirth and it is fun to be part of that," DeWitt said.
After more than a year of living three to a bedroom, Sharon Brumley and her children are thrilled their new home will be roomier, and come with a built in story.
"I think everyone is going to remember them here and it is not only a great experience for them but for us as well because we are getting to see just how hard they really do work," she said.
Even though the team was in Joplin only a few hours, Habitat for Humanity, which still needs volunteers, hopes the example set by the Cardinals proves if you rebuild it, they will come.
"That brings all kinds of great exposure," said executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Joplin, Scott Clayton. "The families and everybody who is part of it, we will remember it for the rest of our lives."