Joe Siddall played baseball at the sport's highest level. He was an MLB catcher with the Montreal Expos, Florida Marlins and Detroit Tigers. Today, as analyst on Sportsnet's Toronto Blue Jays broadcasts, Siddall still makes his living from the game he loves so much.
Yet as much as his passion burns for the diamond, Siddall was never a 24-7 baseball guy growing up in Windsor, Ontario. And he's forever thankful for that.
"When I think of maybe playing baseball 12 months a year - and I never did that and thank goodness I never did that, because to me, when baseball season was over, it was time to move on to the next sport," explained Siddall, who earned a football scholarship to Central Michigan as a quarterback. To him, what made the change of seasons on the calendar equally enthralling was the change in sporting seasons that came with it.
"That's what I looked forward to so much," Siddall remembered. "Baseball ended in the summer and I was headed back to play football on the first day of high school. When football season ended, it was almost disappointing sometimes, but the next day I was in the gymnasium playing basketball. And when basketball ended, we were right back into baseball again."
While trading in his baseball mitt for a football helmet and by swtiching from the gridiron to the hardwood, he was developing skills that made him both a better athlete and a better person.
"The skills that you use on the football field as a quarterback help you as a catcher behind the plate in baseball and they can help you as a forward on the basketball court," Siddall said. "It's really to me like cross training through all the different body movements. The things that you do on each field help in the other. Not only physcially but I think the mental part of it was a bigger one for me.
"Both physically and mentally, to me it was a huge advantage. That, to me, is how you become a great athlete."