In last month’s draft, the Chicago Cubs selected Sam Tidaback, a catcher out of the University of North Georgia in the 21st round. Sam is a Chicagoland native, so we thought it would be fun to reach out to him for an interview, which he gladly agreed to. We did not want to interrogate him just yet, so we took it easy on him. We just wanted to give you an opportunity to learn a bit more about this new draftee.
Cameron Kmen: How did you find out the Chicago Cubs drafted you and what were you doing at the time? Has there ever been a point in your life that you stopped and thought to yourself that you might get the opportunity to play at the next level one day?
Sam Tidaback: I was playing pool basketball with my brother and my cousin at the time it happened. My advisor texted me and said I hope you like the Cubs, and as soon as I read that text my mom and grandma came running out of the house saying I was drafted by the Cubs. I always would think about playing at the next level, but I did not think it would be a reality until about half way through the season.
CK: You are from the Chicagoland area, Plainfield to be specific, and in your Twitter profile picture, you are wearing a Cubs jersey and holding a W flag. Did you grow up rooting for the Cubs? What does it mean to you to be drafted by the team you grew up rooting for? Did you have a favorite player growing up?
ST: I have been a Cubs fan my entire life. I have stuck with the team through the good times and bad, and I love being downtown when the Cubs are playing. Wrigleyville is unbelievable and I love every part of it. It means the world to me to be drafted by the Cubs. Being able to represent the name of the Cubs on the front of my jersey is a dream come true and I am honored to be a part of this organization. I loved Sammy Sosa growing up.
CK: When you are not on the field, what do you like to do to pass time? Any interesting hobbies?
ST: I’m from Chicago so I love to eat. Any good food is a great way to spend time with family and friends. I also love to golf in my free time, listen to music, and I am a huge hockey fan so whenever the Blackhawks play I am all over those games.
CK: CBS Sports released a list that ranked the 25 most soaringly awesome names of the 2016 MLB Draft. You ranked 8th overall, and they said that your name sounds like a, "Furious Puritan minister. When visited by impure thoughts of Helen Burgess, he'd beat himself with a still-hot roasted pig." Would you agree with their description or do you think they took that a bit far?
ST: HAHA, I think they might have overdone that. I am a pretty laid back guy and I like to have fun, so I would never be beating myself (haha).
CK: On a more serious note. You are currently a catcher, but have you always played catcher? Are there any players that you have tried to model your game after?
ST: I started catching full time when I was 17. I try to model my game after Buster Posey and Yadier Molina. They both make the game look so easy, they control the pitching staff very well, and they also can hit pretty well in the big leagues. They also play the game the right way, which I love.
CK: What would you say is your biggest strength out on the field? On the flip side, what would you say your biggest weakness is?
ST: I would say my biggest strength is being able to lead on the field and being able to handle a pitching staff. I also pride myself on being a pretty good defensive catcher. I think I would like to be a more complete hitter. I am going to work hard on my hitting here in Arizona and hope to move my way to Eugene before the end of the season.
CK: What are you most looking forward to over the next couple of months?
ST: I look forward to learning the Cubs system and the Cubs style of play. I am also looking forward to playing for the team that I grew up loving and that I still love. I also am looking forward to being around all the guys because I love having great teammates and these are the guys you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Also, I am just looking forward to playing the game I love and enjoying every minute of my professional career.
CK: If you were not pursuing professional baseball, what would you be doing?
ST: I have not graduated yet, so if I was not playing baseball I would be working back home and in the fall I would be going back to North Georgia in order to finish my degree. Thankfully, I will not have to do that quite yet and I thank the Chicago Cubs for everything they have done for me. It has been a blessing!
We wish Sam the best of luck as he begins the next chapter of his life.
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