Buehrle fires right back at Cubs fans
Sox ace doesn't hesitate to toy with beligerent backers
CHICAGO -- A loud roar went up from the crowd in the left-field bleachers at Wrigley Field on Sunday morning as the White Sox were taking batting practice. But it wasn't a group reaction to some prolific clout off the bat of Paul Konerko or Jermaine Dye.The Cubs fans and White Sox fans alike were responding to Mark Buehrle's antics while shagging fly balls. The most notable maneuver from the entertaining left-hander was his mock sweeping of the field, playfully referring to the broom the White Sox would use if they completed the three-game run over the North Siders. Buehrle stands as the ace of the White Sox staff, and it's a very poorly kept secret that he grew up a devout fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. Those two traits combined seemingly give him very little tolerance for the Cubs' fans, in general. But his view of the notorious 'Bleacher Bums' seemed even less charitable. "These fans, some of the fans out in the bleachers, once they have had a few drinks, they may be some of the dumbest fans here," said Buehrle with a smile. "They like taunting me, and I'm going to turn around and mess with them. "It seems like they can dish it out, but can't take it. Once I go back and say something to them, it seems like they get their hearts broken." Comments from Buehrle probably didn't break the collective hearts of Cubs fans who made up the 117,783 that attended this three-game set. The White Sox winning two of the three games took care of that issue without Buehrle saying a word. The weakened forces were a little off their game by Sunday afternoon. When he went out to shag fly balls, Buehrle asked the supporters in blue and white what happened to all the chirping that he took on Friday. After a brief silence, one fan yelled out, 'Buehrle, you (stink),' bringing the reaction Buehrle sought out. One fan actually got on Buehrle for making his residence on the North Side of Chicago, instead of the South Side, because there's nothing to do on the (lousy) South Side. A weak effort, in Buehrle's estimation, but not the worst performance of the day. "What was the dumbest thing I heard?" Buehrle said. "I heard a couple of guys tell me, 'Go back to Triple-A.' I have no clue where that came from. I've never been there and with a 7-1 record, I don't know what you need to do to go back to Charlotte. "There are some fans out there who know baseball and are having fun. Some are totally ignorant and say some stupid stuff. It's all in good fun, until fans take it a little too far." That line was crossed, according to Buehrle, with family brought into a few putdowns. This sort of acrimonious by-play exists at other ballparks, but Buehrle believes it's much worse at Wrigley.
|Mark Buehrle / P|
Weight: 220 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L
He even delivered that message to Brandon McCarthy, who threw 5 1/3 stellar innings during his Major League debut. McCarthy was advised that the fans would be all over him in the bullpen, and that he should move closer to the field during his warmups if the comments bothered him.Dye played the outfield in Wrigley Field as part of his fourth team, having previously made the trip with the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals and Oakland A's. He thought Sunday's series finale was kind of tame, comparatively. All three games were well played, but the series seemed to lack its normal intensity. Maybe it's because of Sammy Sosa's departure or Frank Thomas' absence, two lightning rods for fan reaction. Then again, maybe it's because of the White Sox's early dominance and the Cubs' corresponding struggles. "Today, nobody really said anything. I really didn't hear anything at all," Dye said. "But I guess when you are doing good, there's nothing to say. "It's always great here, whether you are coming in with the White Sox or on another team. It's always fun to play here."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.