I felt all offseason that Mark Buehrle leaving the White Sox was inevitable and it turned out I was right, but I remained hopeful since it looked like Paul Konerko was leaving last season. I’m happy Buehrle received the contract he deserved, and also love that he doesn’t have a no trade clause which could see him back in a Sox uniform before the end of his four year contract in Miami.
Buehrle was a face for the White Sox organization along with Konerko, and AJ Pierzynski, and when he doesn’t pitch opening day this season for the Sox I know I feel a bit of emptiness inside. I will move on and get over it this season, especially since this is just part of the game. I will have an easier time dealing with a Buehrle departure if the Sox play up to their potential, unlike 2011. As not to offend any Tigers’ fans, when I say play up to their potential in 2012 it means competing with the Tigers.
Buehrle was the guy who pitched a no-hitter on April 18, 2007 on a very cold evening at the Cell, while Smitty and I sat there hoping we were going to witness history. Buehrle beat all odds that evening as every possible baseball jinx happened. First, the Sox fan behind us couldn’t stop talking about it from the 6th inning on, as Smitty and I kept giving each other an uneasy look like it was not going to happen because someone was talking about it. Little did we know until later that evening that Buehrle was talking about his no-hitter on the bench between innings.
Of course, the maniac a few rows back and section over screaming at Sammy Sosa every at-bat insane things such “killing him and his family” may have offset any jinx. I’m not a Sosa fan, but that was ridiculous.
Buehrle topped that a few years later with a perfect game and could be relied on for over 200 innings of pitching every season. That may be the biggest problem for the White Sox; who is going to eat up those innings?
Buehrle’s departure from the Sox should be blamed on Guillen and Kenny Williams. Guillen for phoning it in most of last season while demanding an extension, and Williams for the Alex Rios contract that definitely prevented Buehrle’s return from a financial standpoint.
I’d rather not reflect on 2011, so I will not.
I wish Buehrle luck with the Miami Marlins, but he really won’t need it. A new league should pay Buehrle early dividends with hitters unfamiliar with his pitching. I wouldn’t be surprised if he added another no-hitter or perfect game to his already impressive resume this season.
On April 6, 2012, when a White Sox pitcher takes the mound other than Buehrle I’ll look like the Native American when the trash hits the ground from the 80’s pollution campaign. A single tear will roll down my face as the ball hits AJ’s glove. We’ll miss you Mark.