White Sox

Why Mark Buehrle thinks getting his jersey retired ‘doesn’t really make sense’

Why Mark Buehrle thinks getting his jersey retired ‘doesn’t really make sense’

CSN's coverage of Mark Buehrle Day will begin at 12:30 p.m. and can be live streamed on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

On Saturday, Mark Buehrle will become the 11th player in White Sox history to have his number retired, joining a select group of players who are synonymous with baseball on 35th and Shields. 

Nellie Fox. Harold Baines. Luke Appling. Minnie Minoso. Luis Aparicio. Paul Konerko. Ted Lyons. Billy Pierce. Frank Thomas. Carlton Fisk. And, beginning Saturday, Buehrle’s No. 56 will be never be worn again, instead enshrined between a pair of Hall of Famers in Thomas and Fisk.

“It doesn't really make sense, to be honest with you,” Buehrle said. “Trying to wrap my head around it -- I watched Frank Thomas as a kid growing up and even when I came here and played with him, I couldn't believe it. I’m, like, a fan of Frank Thomas, who's right there. It just doesn't make sense that I'm up there with those guys, Again, I went out there and tried to do what I could do every day and had fun with it and obviously had a good, long successful career. And now here we are getting my number retired. I can't really explain it. It's pretty hard.”

Buehrle is one of only three pitchers to have his number retired by the White Sox, joining Lyons (the franchise leader in wins) and Pierce (the franchise leader in strikeouts). Buehrle won 161 games in 12 seasons with the White Sox, threw a no-hitter and a perfect game, saved Game 3 of the World Series and never threw fewer than 200 innings in a season after his 2000 debut. 

While he didn’t seek out the spotlight, Buehrle’s consistency — plus those historic moments and a few tarp dives mixed in — made No. 56 one of the White Sox most popular players during his time in Chicago. He was well-liked by his teammates and coaches, too, after working his way from being a 38th round draft pick to becoming a five-time All-Star in his career. 

“I think that's one of the best compliments I can get, people liking me,” Buehrle said. “I wanted to be liked by everybody. I had fun at the field, tried to stay loose, try to joke around with guys. 

“I think at the end of the day I'm just a normal dude who was fortunate to play professional baseball and play that long and be healthy.”

Part of Buehrle’s sense of disbelief over his jersey retirement is that he’s only 38 and pitched his last game 21 months ago. While he’s enjoying life after baseball — and is playing first base and hitting cleanup for his beer league softball team — he’s not that far removed from it, unlike even Frank Thomas, who last played nine years ago. 

“I was just a kid playing baseball, little leagues a few years back, and here I am getting my number retired,” Buehrle said. “It’s hard to soak it all in and figure it out.”

Don’t expect Buehrle’s address to the crowd at Guaranteed Rate Field Saturday to go long — just like his starts here — as he said he a “complete disaster” emotionally thinking about the pregame ceremony. His nine-year-old son, Braden, will sing the national anthem and his eight-year-old daughter, Brooklyn, will throw out the first pitch, though Buehrle said he won’t be nervous for those moments since his speech will be over with. It's a moment that'll be special for him and his wife, Jamie. 

But Saturday’s festivities weren’t something Buehrle was expecting when he debuted with the White Sox on July 16, 2000 — or even when he last started for the franchise on Sept. 27, 2011. 

“You don’t think of getting numbers retired or any stuff like this,” Buehrle said. “You just go out there and play the game and the numbers take care of themselves. I knew I would come back but not for something like this, no. No chance.”

Ozzie Guillén hates Nick Swisher, with his whole heart

Ozzie Guillén hates Nick Swisher, with his whole heart

If you didn't know, Ozzie Guillén has strong opinions and that includes former players he dealt with.

On the White Sox post-game show, host Chuck Garfien asked Guillén who he disliked more, Carlos Gomez or Nick Swisher.

"Oh my God, nobody can compare that with Nick Swisher," Guillén responded. "I hate Nick Swisher with my heart."

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Guillén declined to elaborate, but then added: "I think he hates me back, there's nothing wrong with that."

And finally Ozzie gave some kind of reason.

"I never talked to him, I was managing him, but I don't like the way his attitude was all fake. And I don't like fake people."

Then Chuck pointed out Swisher was only with the White Sox for one year and Guillén had thoughts about that to.

"It was one year too long," Guillén said.

Guillén doubled down and said he thinks others players would agree if they were honest, while clarifying he didn't hate him as a person and thought he was a good player.

The White Sox way wasn't the Swisher way, and there was friction.

Ozzie also admitted he might of misused Swisher.

"I played him center field and batting first or second, that guy has to be in right field batting tenth."


White Sox end streak, stay confident: 'We are going to do the pushing around'

White Sox end streak, stay confident: 'We are going to do the pushing around'

The White Sox winning streak is over.

So why was Danny Mendick so chipper after a 1-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night?

His three hits might have had something to do with it. He was just about the only offense the White Sox mustered against Adrian Houser and a pair of relievers.

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But it seemed to stem more from the different feeling surrounding this year's White Sox team.

Mendick got a taste, however small, of the rebuilding years at the tail end of the 2019 season. After Yoán Moncada and Tim Anderson and Lucas Giolito and Eloy Jiménez broke out the way they did during that campaign, Rick Hahn's front office complemented them with a host of impact veteran additions during the offseason. Throw it all together, and these White Sox have the look of a potential contender, something backed up by the way they played during their six-game win streak.

That's over now, though Wednesday's game had the same kind of playoff feel that the first two games against the Brewers did on Monday and Tuesday nights. The White Sox might not have played any games that felt like these in the last three years. Now there have been three in three nights.

So yeah, something's changed.

"I’ll tell you what, just the energy in the clubhouse," Mendick said Wednesday, asked about the difference between 2019 and 2020. "When we show up to the field, there’s more confidence.

"It’s not like we are going to get pushed around. It’s more like we are going to do the pushing around.

"Everyone is just prepared. Everyone shows up to the field ready. They know the opponent. We know what they are going to bring. I feel there’s just more, how do I say this, more education. We have more veterans. We have guys who are really focused on baseball, and it brings a lot to everybody."

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The six-game win streak turned the White Sox slow 1-4 start around in a hurry. In this shortened, 60-game season, every game means so much and even modest winning or losing streaks could tug the entire season in one direction or the other. The White Sox went from getting their brains beat in by the class of the AL Central to the third best record in the American League as of Wednesday morning.

They've showed what they're capable of, too. They blew out the Kansas City Royals, scoring a combined 20 runs and knocking out a total of 35 hits in back-to-back wins last weekend. Then they went to Milwaukee and won a pair of nail-biters, getting clutch hits from José Abreu and Jiménez to back strong efforts by the bullpen Monday and Giolito on Tuesday.

Wednesday, it was one of those newly arrived veterans, Dallas Keuchel, who shone. He logged seven one-run innings, the first White Sox starter to pitch in the seventh inning this season. If it weren't for the unusually cool conditions on the South Side, the outcome might have been different. Luis Robert and Moncada dialed up back-to-back deep fly balls in the eighth inning that both could have easily gone as go-ahead homers on a normal summer night.

The clutch hits could have kept on coming. And the knowledge of being competitive — the "belief," as Giolito keeps putting it — prevented the White Sox from feeling down after another fine effort Wednesday. It will likely do so every night for the remainder of this short season.

"The thing that probably has impressed me the most is the resiliency of the club," Hahn said Wednesday. "Obviously, those of us who have watched this team over the last several years, and certainly in the early phase of the rebuild, knew that feeling that you would get early or midway through games where you would feel the lead was perhaps insurmountable. I think looking at this club through the first 10 or 11 games so far, it feels like we're not out of any ballgame, regardless of what the deficit may be.

"I think that's a great testament to not just the veterans that have been brought in, but the growth of the young guys and the mentality I'm sure you've all picked up on going back to (spring training in) Glendale."

Part of the reason additions like Keuchel, Yasmani Grandal and Edwin Encarnación looked so good during the winter was the playoff experience these guys have. While the White Sox core doesn't know what it's like to win at the big league level — not even Abreu does, who played for six losing White Sox teams before signing a new multi-year deal in the offseason — these guys do. They're all veterans of pennant races and playoff runs that go all the way to the end of October. Keuchel's got a World Series ring on his resume.

Experience with the highs and lows of a winning season might not be quite as valuable in this most unusual of seasons. But before the White Sox can be championship contenders, they actually need to do some winning. After a combined 284 losses in the last three seasons, even a six-game winning streak can mean a lot.

But whether they won or lost Wednesday, it didn't seem like the result was going to sway their belief. These White Sox are here to compete and live up to the high expectations they set for themselves dating all the way back to the end of an 89-loss season in 2019.

"We've been hot, and eventually it's going to come to an end. But man, we were right in the ballgame. That's all we can ask for," Keuchel said. "Game in, game out, we know that we're going to be in those contests.

"If we can win series, that's a playoff recipe."