Mark Buehrle sensed something was off on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, and it wasnt because he was wearing a different uniform or staying at the team hotel in Chicago.
The Miami Marlins might move the needle on reality television, and they were stars at the winter meetings during that wild shopping spree, but the place just didnt have the same juice. This wasnt Cubs-Sox.
I felt like I was in a backyard beer league softball game with how quiet it was here, Buehrle said Wednesday, in the middle of the cramped visiting clubhouse. It had an odd feeling to it, because Ive never seen this park like that.
Ozzie Guillen getting booed during a pitching change certainly felt normal, and Buehrle might have to put his glove over his face to hide the smirk on Thursday afternoon against the Cubs. His manager wont mind the attention.
I own this town, bro, Guillen said. I dont care what they say. They love me here, believe it or not. It was fun when they booed me (because) I know theyre still alive. It was kind of quiet for a little while.
Thats Chicago, man, what do you expect? They know Im a White Sox. Theres no in between. Youre in or youre not, and I love it.
Guillen called Buehrle Mr. White Sox, right up there with or ahead of Harold Baines, Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko.
Buehrles left arm gave the White Sox almost 2,500 innings, and helped them lift that 2005 World Series trophy. Hes said before that the loyalty there is so strong that theres no way he could ever pitch for the Cubs.
At the age of 33, Buehrle is 30 wins away from 200 for his career, which is amazing for a 38th-round pick drafted and developed by the White Sox. Hes 9-8 with a 3.13 ERA in the first season of a four-year, 58 million contract.
By the end of a media session that lasted more than 20 minutes on Tuesday, Guillen wondered why the entire focus was on him and Carlos Zambrano.
Wait a minute, Guillen said. (Bleeping) media. Thats why people talk bad about Chicagohow about (bleeping) Mark Buehrle? Hes a nice guy nobody says nothing about him, huh? All right, Mark Buehrle left Chicago in mourning, but you dont say anything about him. That (bleep) dont sell.
Buehrle, a guy from small-town Missouri, joked that The Franchise could make an entire episode of him avoiding the cameras for the Showtime reality show.
I dont pay attention to it, Buehrle said. The guys are professional and go about their business and kind of stay out of everybodys way. But it doesnt effect me, because wherever the cameras are, I go the opposite way.
I dont pay attention to all that stuff. I kind of go out of my way to get out of their way, just so Im not on there.
Ive had people ask me: Hey, dude, I watched the episodes. I havent seen you (except) for like two seconds. Im like: Well, get used to it.
All Buehrle wants to do is pitch, and Thursdays assignment happens to be the Cubs. It doesnt matter if he gets booed or Wrigley Field is silent again. He will work fast.
There has been a lot of airtime and column inches spent on the autopsy of the 2011 White Sox. Why are they in first place now?
Its Ozzies fault, Buehrle said, in a perfect deadpan delivery. Ask him.