Could You Hate Mark Buehrle?

Could You Hate Mark Buehrle?

Most indications are that Mark Buehrle has thrown his final pitch on the south side of Chicago. One of the heroes from 2005 who will certainly be remembered as one of the best lefties in Sox history, reports are that a number of teams have expressed a more substantial financial interest in Buehrle than Sox GM Kenny Williams is willing to at this point.

One rumor the has floated around for the last week that Theo Epstein's group of merry men has made contact multiple times with the folks that represent Buehrle in an effort to gauge his interest in pitching for the Chicago Cubs.

Buehrle? On the CUBS?

The first thing to go through my mind was a chuckle surrounded by doubt. But when I saw the photoshop of Buehrle in a Cubs uniform (now CSN Chicago David Kaplan's Twitter profile pic), I scratched my head. Would he really ever sign to pitch on the North Side?

The next thing to go through my head was the image of Chris Chelios, standing on the United Center Ice last season, begging the fans that had praised him for nine years to stop booing him on his Heritage Night.

Chelios was born and raised in Chicago, but began his career in Montreal. He was traded to the Hawks for Denis Savard, and was one of the most loved and respected captains in Blackhawks history for nine fantastic seasons. He was always in line with the fans on many matters, including his concrete desire to never play for the Detroit Red Wings.

And yet, after the idiotic regime that ran the great Hawks teams of the 1990s into the ground had sent most of the good players around him packing and brought in a mediocre roster that disrespected fans and the legacy of players like Chelios finally offered him a way out, he relented. Chelios did what he said he would never do, and at 38 years old he accepted a trade to Detroit. The rest is history, and you can read the feelings of many Hawks fans for Chelios in a great piece by my good friend Jay Zawaski here.

Buehrle was born and raised in Missouri as a Cardinals fan. He has always maintained that his favorite team (that didn't pay his bills) remained the Cardinals, and he still spends a lot of time in Missouri during the offseason.

Of course Cardinals fans don't like the Cubs (no matter how much they should be grateful for gifts like Lou Brock). And many White Sox players, and fans, don't care for (read: hate) the Cubs as well.In every interview he's done in which the idea of pitching for the Cubs came up, Buehrle was true to both of those fan bases. He has always said that the Cubs are the last place he would want to pitch, and he might prefer retirement to Wrigley.

So what would happen if Buehrle "pulled a Chelios" and signed to pitch on the north side? Would the same fans that want to burn Chelios at the stake line up to give back their Buehrle memorabilia? Or would he be magically accepted as just another professional following the dollar signs?

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  • Nice one Tab. I hate the picture and I would hate if he were to pitch on the North Side. If he does, Buerls could kiss his statue good bye.

  • In reply to Bears STH:

    If he wins a WS for the North Side, bank on him having 2 statues in Chicago. The only athlete of its kind

  • If he wins a World Series on the North Side. All will be forgiven and forgotten.

  • No.

  • In reply to James Fegan:

    Why not?

  • In reply to Tab Bamford:

    Maybe I'm the wrong person to ask.

    Perhaps a virulent anti-Cubs, 'Die-Northside-Die', Sox fan who hates every Cubs player on general principle would be a more interesting test case as to whether the most beloved player of the last decade putting on a Cubs uniform would change all their feelings about them. I'm just some guy who lives in Logan Square and watches Sox games on my laptop.

    I guess the only way I could imagine being cross with him over departing would be if I felt he did so in some way that could be construed as betrayal, or unduly spiteful, or indicative that never really gave a crap about the White Sox or his time here.

    First, he's not spurning the team. Unlike in 2007, they made no priority of extending him, re-signing him immediately, or anything at all to prevent him from hitting the market and allowing his price to balloon to its maximum size. Even now, if the Sox showed any interest in paying him his worth, he'd surely re-sign. His departure is only enabled by their indifference.

    Second, besides some quotes where he threw the press a bone in the run-up to the Crosstown Classic about not liking Wrigley Field, there's not a real reason to think he gives a crap about Cubs-Sox. That's a city rivalry, and this is a guy from Missouri. The Cubs aren't the team the White Sox are going to war against for the division, they play more games against the friggin' Angels than they do the Cubs. I'd be far more irked if he went the Minnesota, the team the Sox build their roster around trying to beat year-after-year.

    And finally, even if Buehrle left on fractured terms a la Frank Thomas, this is a player who's been on the team for 11 years in the era of baseball vagabonds, who had a career-year in 2005 and brought home a World Series, who pitched rain or shine, and wasted time doing every lame PR event, and slid on rain tarps for everyone's collective amusement. Whether or not he actually cared or was dedicated to the Chicago White Sox isn't a question, and anyone who would cut the cord with him over how he left is doomed to feel betrayed by just about anyone who isn't on the 25-man roster at the time.

    I'm sure it'd be annoying as hell to see Buehrle go to North Side if for no other reason than how much coverage it would get, but also because it will serve as a reminder of how KW allocated resources so poorly that the Sox had to let a still-productive hero of the franchise walk because he was too busy giving the money necessary to sign Buehrle to Alex Rios.

    It'd be good for one thing, too. I'd never have to argue the merits of Mark Buehrle to another Cubs fan. They'd know.

    I'm sure there's plenty of typos on that because of how long it is, but hell, it's not my blog, I don't feel much like proofreading.

  • Did you forget Ron Santo, Don Kessinger, and Steve Stone wore both Chicago uniforms too?

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