Have people forgotten about Mark Buehrle?
They, like myself, are very excited for this year's team, which features one of the best pitching rotations in baseball.
While I am with one of my friends, he decides to bring up the upcoming season. He tries to spark up a conversation about the potential of the Sox this year, but he fails miserably by saying, "How 'bout that offense, huh?"
"Oh yeah...all that power..."
Of course, my friend's not an idiot; he knows he just ruined the moment. To try to make up for it, he comes up with something much more exciting.
"How 'bout those pitchers, huh?"
This gets me really excited, as we start talking about Gavin Floyd and John Danks being the back end of our rotation, J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton being the go-to guys in our bullpen, Bobby Jenks hopefully returning to the reliable closer he once was, and Jake Peavy likely going to dominate the Twins and Tigers this year.
Not once, though, did he bring up anything to do with Mark Buehrle.
I finally bring him up: "It's going to be pretty sick this year to have both Buehrle and Peavy pitching, am I right?"
What my friend then said was pretty new to me as a Chicago native.
"Hmph...I guess. Not so much Buehrle though. He's kinda chubby and can't strike out a guy to save his life. Peavy's the stud, the guy who should be starting on Opening Day."
Never before in my life had I heard anything like this. My friend, who is a Sox fan just like myself, very easily threw away Mark Buehrle in favor of Jake Peavy.
Jake Peavy starting on Opening Day over Mark Buehrle?
No. Just no.
I wanted to slap my friend in the face, yelling at him, "How can you say that?!"
But I didn't. I just ended the conversation very awkwardly and then left.
As I left, though, I couldn't stop mulling over my friend's words. Do Sox fans really feel that way? Have they really thrown away Mark Buehrle that quickly?
On July 31, 2009, I was excited just like every other Sox fan. That was the day we traded for Jake Peavy in exchange for four pitchers. I was so overjoyed that my family eventually got really annoyed with my constant jargon on Peavy and how good the Sox are now.
Yet they went through the same stuff with me on July 23, 2009, the day Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game.
I am not a Mark Buehrle fan. I am not a Jake Peavy fan. Hell, I am not even a Gordon Beckham fan. I am simply a Chicago White Sox fan, and I would root for any player they have out on the field.
Well, there is one exception.
If Jake Peavy were to walk out of the dugout and onto the mound on April 5 of this year as the Opening Day starter, I would not root for him. I would root against him. Not because I would blame him for starting—he's just doing what Ozzie Guillen tells him to do. But there is only one player I would root for in that situation.
How can people, especially White Sox fans, vouch for Peavy as the starter on Opening Day? He's started, what, three games with the Sox?
As mentioned before, I'm excited like the next guy about Peavy. He's a great pitcher with a lot of talent and can have a great year this year. But you can't start him over Buehrle.
Peavy has yet to do anything for the White Sox. Ever. If someone can tell me the last time he won a playoff game for the Sox, please do. If someone can tell me the last time he won the Sox a World Series, please do. The problem is that no one can tell me these things because he hasn't done them.
Mark Buehrle has been a Chicago White Sox pitcher for 10 years. He's won a World Series with the club and has been selected to four All-Star Games. He's thrown a no-hitter and a perfect game. He's been the heart and soul of this team for the past five years at least and has become the uncontested leader of this team.
Are we really going to take a little piece of that away from him by choosing a pitcher who just got here less than a year ago for Opening Day?
Fortunately, no, we are not going to. Ozzie has already made it clear to everyone that Buehrle will get the nod to start on April 5 over Peavy. Thank you, Ozzie.
Now all I can do is what a fan can do: Watch and root for the White Sox whenever I get the chance to next year. I just hope that on Opening Day, Mark Buehrle goes out there and pitches like the great pitcher he is. Hopefully, Sox fans will see what they have in Buehrle, and they will never lose their loyalty for him again—especially for a guy who hasn't even started one meaningful game for the Sox.
To White Sox fans: Don't forget about Mark Buehrle this year.
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