Thursday, December 8, 2011

Saying Goodbye To Buehrle

Plenty of people have already written wonderful things about Mark Buehrle since the news broke yesterday, particularly Jim over at South Side Sox, but I didn't think it'd be right to not address what his departure actually means to me.

I can't help but feel many of the same things that Jim did in his piece. Though I'm a few years older than he is, Buehrle was the last real attachment to my White Sox "childhood" as well.

I was in the left field bleachers during Buehrle's first appearance for the White Sox in 2000. It was a July 16th game against Milwaukee. Buehrle came in after 8 innings from James Baldwin to finish things off with an 11-4 lead in the ninth inning.

I don't remember much about how Buehrle looked that day, or what I thought of his pitching seeing as how I was 400 feet away from him. All I can really remember is seeing the name on the back of his uniform as he came out of the bullpen and thinking "Who the fuck is Burl? Bwarly? How the fuck do you say that?"

I've since learned to pronounce his name.

He didn't really give us any other choice as he would go on to become one of the best starting pitchers in White Sox history.  He leaves Chicago with 161 wins and as the guy who went out there every day when it was his turn, never got hurt, never made less than 30 starts in a season, and never pitched less than 200 innings.

He was the guy who provided the lone highlight of our last rebuilding season, in 2007, even if the team wasn't calling it that, after he threw a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers.

He also threw that perfect game, which I was not one of the 85,000 people who now claim to have been in attendance that day. I could have been, though. My friend Kevin called me that morning asking me if I wanted to go but I told him I couldn't because I'd already told FanHouse, where I was working at the time, that I was going to live blog the game on the site.

So instead I live-blogged his perfect game knowing that I could have actually been there to see it in person. You're still welcome, Molly. I know you enjoyed my ticket.

It was always a delight to show up at The Cell knowing Buehrle was on the mound. You knew you wouldn't be there forever, and particularly in April or September when the temperature was dropping as each minute passed, you really appreciated the rate at which he worked. He not only kept his teammates in the game, but fans as well.

You really had to plan the bathroom trips or you might miss an entire inning.

And now this.

That's never going to look right. He can be a Marlin for the next decade and that will never look right.

He may no longer be here with the White Sox, but Buehrle now joins that place that guys like Frank Thomas and Robin Ventura went to before, and Paul Konerko will join soon enough.

He's always going to be a White Sox to me.

Goodbye, Mark.

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