I drafted Mark Buehrle in the IAL for my Chicago Champions, not only because he pitches for my real life favorite major league team, the White Sox, but also because he’s good, doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but moves the ball around & uses his cutter to get guys out. He’s also an Aries, my sign, a lefty, my favorite player on the Sox, favorite Sox pitcher since Tommy John, throws more like John after the surgery, Tommy used to throw hard. Buehrle has never struckout ten batters in a major league game. Then in a moment of insanity, I traded Mark to the Rising Bammbeanos, their manager was kind enough to swap him back to me, I don’t think he could stand hearing me crying all of the time. So I watched today’s ballgame with interest, like it was my kid, the prodigal child, who came back home.
I was going to be in Chicago, that was the original plan, but decided to stay in Santa Barbara with my brother Todd, while he put a new roof on my brain injured friend Lee’s house. It was still before noon when I turned on the live scoring feature for my CBS Sportsline fantasy baseball team, WTLNXTYR, and noticed the White Sox were playing a 1:05 PM game, hosting the Rays, at the Cell. It all came back to me, I’d have been at this game, probably with Rob, as we feel like we’re getting away with something, going to a day game in the middle of the week. With me not working, I don’t know what I’m getting away with.
I was torn, sit in the sun by the pool, or watch Buehrle pitch against Tampa on TV at the bowling alley across the parking lot from my Motel6 room, they happen to have the MLB package there, good things seem to work out for good people. It took me about two minutes to decide to go watch the White Sox, in the time it took me to walk across the lot, a nothing to nothing game quickly became 4-0 on a big fly off the bat of Josh Fields with the bags juiced. Later in the game Scotty Pods ripped a leadoff double inside the firstbase line, Alexei Ramirez, hitting behind the runner also sent his double just inside the first base bag, into rightfield for an RBI double.
That was more than enough for Mark Buehrle, as he had it on cruise control, Tampa got NAHTING! Buehrle doesn’t overpower anybody, just keeps batters off balance by changing speeds, and setting up his cutter. He was masterful, a joy to watch, besides being a gem, it was also quick. There were a couple of close calls, but nothing which required a fielder to over extend himself, a line drive to third that Gordon Beckham snared, with his feet planted on the ground, then there was a screamer that the thirdbase umpire had to jump out of the way from, before deliberately & dramatically signalling, FOUL BALL!
Before I knew it, it was the top of the 9th inning, defensive specialist Dewayne Wise took over in centerfield. Gabe Kapler caught all of one and sent it over the centerfield wall to lead off the inning, only to have Wise get on his horse, in a full sprint, leap at the fence, bringing the baseball back, preserving the no-hitter and the Perfect Game. Everybody in the bar cheared, but I think I was the only one knowing what was going on. “Two outs to go!”, I exclaimed, urging Buehrle on, “Go to work, Mark, bring your lunch bucket with you”. Buerhle struckout the 26th batter he faced and got the final guy on a grounder to short.
I missed Mark Buehrle’s no-hitter, thrown in April 2007, when I went to Rose Angeli’s with my sister in law Lisa and a good friend named Debbie from Waupaca, they were both in to see a taping of the Oprah Show. I couldn’t have had a better seat for this one, if I’d been at the park, watching it brought tears to my eyes. And I have to give the homeplate umpire credit, he had the same strike zone all game long, no matter the count, no matter the situation.