Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fish Reel In Buehrle, White Sox Nation in Mourning

I was sitting at my computer today when I saw the news: Mark Buehrle, long-time ace of the Chicago White Sox, signs deal with Miami Marlins. As much as Sox fans knew this day might come, it still hurts. Mark was more to the team and the fans than a regular pitcher, and though Buehrle no longer pitching on the South Side makes sense for him and the organization, it still leaves White Sox Nation in mourning.

Mark Buehrle has created his share of special moments for White Sox fans to forever treasure. No one on the South Side will ever forget his 9 inning, 1 run performance in the world series in 2005. Nor will anyone forget the no hitter he threw against the Texas Rangers in 2007. Then, on July 23rd, 2009, Mark produced his most magical moment to date in the form of a perfect game. It was the 18th perfect game in the history of major league baseball, and it was saved by "the catch" shown here. As stated before, these are moments that White Sox fans will remember forever. But it is not Buehrle's flashy plays that endear him the most to Sox fans.

People outside of Chicago probably do not know much about the history of Mark Buehrle. They probably do not know how he got cut from his high school baseball team in his sophomore year, or how he was not drafted until the 38th round (thats right, 38th) by the White Sox. The guy does not have overpowering stuff, as his fastball has never, in recent memory, broken 90 mph. So how has Mark found so much success, and why do White Sox fans love him so much? It is because of his workman-like approach to the game, consistency, humble demeanor, and sense of humor. Buehrle hasn't ever missed a start due to an injury. When he plays, you know what you're going to get out of the guy: 6-8 innings, 2-3 runs, quality starts. You never hear a negative word out of Mark's mouth; by all accounts, he is a great teammate. In these ways and more, Buehrle really has a lot in common with his fans, South Siders who put in a long day's work, look down upon unnecessary flash, and play to win. We, as South Siders, are what Ozzie would call "grinders," and we see so much of ourselves in Mark Buehrle, the little guy who beat the odds but stayed true to his roots and upbringing.

Even as Mark continues to age, I'm sure he will do well in Miami, a city that more suits the LeBrons and Wades of the world than the Buehrles. He has a solid career ERA of 3.83, and will go to a much more pitcher friendly park than the bandbox that is U.S. Cellular Field. The move makes business sense. The Marlins are flush with cash (for now) and the Sox are strapped for money after last season's debacle. Despite everything, Sox nation will miss Mark Buehrle. One thing we have, though, are some pretty awesome memories of a guy that truly was a South Sider at heart. Best of luck Mark Buehrle.

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