By Bob Elliott
It was a warm afternoon Wednesday in Windsor.
It was a relaxing time to kick up and relax with the family kind of day.
Mother and father were in the family room like 1,000s of other living rooms across North America.
Their two daughters and son were there as well as an uncle who had stopped by.
They were listening to the quiet monotone emanating from the son’s laptop and then the silence of the Bruce Ave. household was broken.
“The Oakland A’s select draft I.D. 9299 ... Brett Siddall ... hometown Windsor, Ont. Canada ... from Canisius College.”
Sisters Brooke and Mackenzie, their uncle Dave Lesler, a Windsor police officer, mom Tamara, father Joe and Brett Siddall himself were hooting and hollering in celebration so much they didn’t hear the executive from commissioner’s office read the pick pack for the benefit of the other 29 teams.
Joe wisely took the Miami Marlins-Blue Jays series off from the broadcast booth, with Duane Ward taking his place. Joe wanted to be home with his family for the good news, bad news or worse: no news.
Joe didn’t want to miss anything. He didn’t.
“We were sitting on the couch, we all looked up at the same time, it was pretty exciting,” said Brett. “Mom held it together pretty good.”
Brett could feel someone else who wasn’t in the room watching him that moment on draft day, his draft day, when he fulfilled the dream. So many youngsters desire to drafted. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps to the majors. Brett had the dream when he played for the Windsor Stars and Windsor Selects for coach Chris Soulliere and his pop Joe. Same with coach Al Bernacki of the Windsor juniors.
Brett wore uniform No. 24 and for all 64 Griffs games this year and also a green wrist band with the initials KS and the No. 35, his younger brother’s number, to honor his late brother Kevin.
“I know my brother is proud of me, hopefully he’s watching this,” said Brett. “I think of him every day.”
Joe said they were tears when Brett’s name was called “but they were happy tears” his voice quivering a little, but less than the caller’s voice.
Joe and Tamara lost their son Kevin in February of 2014. Uncle Dave lost a nephew. Brooke and Mackenzie, and Brett lost a brother when Kevin passed at age 14, after a gallant, six-month battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Kevin went through six rounds of chemotherapy and underwent 50 blood transfusions.
If the Siddall scene was the feel good story of the day, the news was coming out of 100 Joe Nuxhall Way in Cincinnati, Ohio.
A total of 20 Canadians went on the third and final day of the draft four to the Reds as former Jays scouting director Chris Buckley, scouts Bill Byckowksi and Dan Bleiwas cut a wide swath through Canada. That led to a three-day total of 30, the most since 35 in 2011. A year ago 17 Canucks were chosen.
The Reds chose four Canadians Wednesday five in all to lead all teams. They selected Brampton second baseman J.D. Williams in the 17th round, Guelph lefty Isaac Anesty in the 18th, Brampton right-hander Darren Shred in the 22nd -- all of whom play for the Ontario Blue Jays and the Canadian Junior National Team -- and right-hander Will McAffer, North Vancouver and the North Shore Twins in the 32nd.
Oakland A’s scout Matt Higginson did OK too. He selected Toronto Mets’ Eric Senior, MVP of last fall’s Tournament 12 with his 23rd pick and Marc-Andre Berube of Trios Pistoles, Que. from Pitt University with his 28th and Siddall.
After the second day of the draft with 10 rounds in the books, Higginson called from Oakville to Windsor Tuesday night, asking if Brett would sign if drafted. From the 11th round on signing bonus seldom exceeds $100,000 US.
“I want to move on to the next level, hopefully we can work something out,” said Brett, who received a call from Higginson as soon as the pick was made telling him to enjoy his day and he’d be in touch soon.
Playing for the Canisius College Golden Griffs and coach Mike McRae in Buffalo, Brett won conference player of the year. McRae sent him a text and told him he’d be there to help with the decision (sign or return for his senior season).
“We didn’t hear from Oakland after the phone call on Tuesday,” said Joe, “the 11th round came, the 12th came ... we were listening but you know, not really listening, then all of a sudden the place erupted.
“We were totally shocked it’s not like Oakland had called 10 minutes before we heard it.”
It won’t be the last time they hear Brett Siddall’s name.