Joe Siddall (right) with Jerry Howarth in the Blue Jays' radio booth. (Fox Sports Detroit)
By Mike Harrington
Be sure to read my column in Wednesday's editions on Canisius College outfielder Brett Siddall and his father, new Blue Jays radio announcer Joe Siddall, as they continue to cope with the February death of their 14-year-old brother/son, Kevin.
There are plenty of poignant thoughts in the story and Canisius will be playing with plenty of emotion during its MAAC Tournament opener against an opponent to be determined tonight in Lakewood, N.J. I talked to Joe Siddall Tuesday from Fenway Park prior to the Blue Jays' series opener against the Red Sox and made sure to get some Jays talk in as well that didn't really fit the column.
So here are the outakes of the interview, largely focused on Joe Siddall's MLB thoughts:
---Siddall said he can "talk baseball until I'm blue in the face" and was always comfortable dealing with the media as a player. He said learning the nuances of broadcasting has been a fascinating ride, especially the depth of preparation that goes into a television broadcast in areas such as pre-planned graphics. He spent five games on the last homestand working in the Sportsnet TV booth.
"It's been a comfortable transition, from the broadcasting perspective and learning tricks of the trade," he said. "I continue to bounce things off Buck Martinez, Pat Tabler, Jerry Howarth and learn things that help me get better.
"TV is a different ballgame so to speak. It's such a big production, starting with the meeting during the day, so you're prepared for the show opening and the graphics you'll be discussing during the game. It's really neat. I joked after my five days that I will certainly watch a game on TV differently now because now you know what went in to all the things. A really cool experience."
On legendary Jays announcer Howarth: "It's been great working with him since day one. He's been that right-hand guy to give me tips and pointers and it's helped our broadcast. The No. 1 thing Jerry has taught me is to have fun. When you're in the booth, have fun, joke, laugh, talk baseball. That's what people want to hear."
The Blue Jays in the AL East -- "They're hanging in because everybody has issues, all these teams are struggling. We're here in Boston and here's a team coming off the World Series that's struggling and not consistent whatsoever. The Blue Jays' lineup is tremendous."
Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista -- "He's special. I worked batting practice with the Tigers for 12 years and worked with Miguel Cabrera every day. Imagine what that's like. Maybe Jose isn't Miguel Cabrera but he's just about the same type of player every time out. He's had tremendous discipline here. When Edwin Encarnacion was scuffling, Jose didn't try to do too much and he contributed offensively."
Jose Reyes as an X-factor guy: "He seems to be coming along. If he gets on base consistently, he would score so many runs. The lineup is so deep with power that if Reyes gets on base, it's really going to be tough. What's really going to be the big factor is the pitching. They have to solidify that. And who doesn't say this, but it would sure be nice to have one more solid big-league starter."
Red-hot Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle: "I can't not laugh answering a question about him. I have to chuckle. The way he does it is unbelievable. It should inspire every kid in the minor leagues who throws 84 mph. He locates so well. You do that it doesn't matter if it's at 84 or 94. He changes speed, moves it in and out. He's a classic pitcher...He's good at his craft."
From left, Canisius teammates Anthony Massicci, Brett Siddall and Connor Panas pose with Albert Pujols of the Angels last week in Toronto. (Joe Siddall Twitter photo)