With Mark Buehrle's future up in the air, I made a special effort to be on hand for what could turn out to be his final outing in a White Sox uniform. I pulled a few strings -- the only strings I know -- and scored 1 great seat behind the screen, though not in the coveted scout seat section.
Monday night was a quintessential Buehrle outing. He didn't strike out a lot of guys, but walked none. There were a lot of hits, but only one was really smoked, with the extra-base hits coming on jam shots just inside the lines. And while he was charged with 4 runs, 2 came on those soft hits, and the other two came thanks to a fielding error and an incompetent bullpen full of hanging breaking pitches.
Buehrle deserved better. Buehrle deserves better.
In hindsight, I obviously would have rather seen Buehrle face Ramon Hernandez in the 8th inning. But when Ozzie came out to the mound, the only thing I was thinking about was clapping and cheering as loud as I could. The crowd, which had earlier chanted "Re-sign Buehrle," didn't disappoint, as Buehrle left to a standing ovation, doffing his cap as he walked into the dugout.
As he raised his hat, I stopped cheering. I didn't want him to do it. It seemed to signal that he was gone. No matter how optimistic Kenny Williams is that a deal will get worked out, that little raise of the cap seemed like Buehrle's goodbye. By the time Buehrle had vanished into the dugout, with the Foo Fighters song "Hero" (Lyrics: "There goes my hero / Watch him as he goes / There goes my hero / He's ordinary") being played over the PA system, I was sad.
I've remained confident that Buehrle would still be with the Sox in August and beyond, but the scene as he left the field reduced that confidence to nothing. Mark Buehrle had a great career with the White Sox. There was a 1:48 minute game, a no-hitter, a 14th inning World Series save, countless tarp slides, and 102 victories.
I wish I could have seen one more.