I am still a huge Mark Buehrle fan. Despite his move to South Beach over another round on the South Side, I will support Buehrle and cheer him on. I will still collect his cards in a Marlins uniform. The only time I will ever root against Mark Buehrle will be when he faces the Chicago White Sox. Why? He has been a favorite of mine for many years and he is a class act all the way. His exit from Chicago was low key and heartfelt. We understood why he had to leave, but we wanted him to stay anyway. Buehrle will always get my respect. On the way out of town, he expressed his desire to come back to the White Sox someday. This is a man who was clearly torn and made a tough decision that was right for him and his family. These are the reasons why I will collect his Miami Marlins cards.
I appreciate everything that Ozzie Guillen brought to the White Sox, both as a player and as a manager. As a player, he helped bring the AL West crown to Chicago in 1993 and he was the voice of reason and experience on the field. He solidified the infield and managed to be a menace on the basepaths despite his low batting average. As a manager, he brought the first World Series title to Chicago in eighty-eight years. He squeezed an AL Central title out of the 2008 team.
Guillen was a flash fire. He burned brightly at first, but his flame died quickly. We knew his eccentricities and made exceptions for them. Then, along with his mouth, everything went south. The first crack in the armor was making Sean Tracey cry and making him lose enough confidence to never sniff the majors again. Ozzie tasted another man's tears and it seemed to suit him. During the last few years, it appeared that Ozzie was more interested in screwing with a player's frame of mind than winning ballgames. Questionable feuds popped up with everyone from umpires, players and reporters. I could even stomach the unnecessary Twitter wars, but the grand finale would be my last straw.
I don't mind that Ozzie went to Miami. No long term manager stays in the same place forever. Even Bobby Cox went to Toronto to manage for four years. After checking out somewhere in the middle of the season, Guillen couldn't be bothered to finish out the last two games of the season, thus exposing us all to the Don Cooper managerial experience.
While Reinsdorf may have reluctantly signed off on Ozzie's wish to leave his responsibility two days early, in the eyes of the fans, Guillen just abandoned his team that he had already given up on months before. The Tasmanian Devil act had finally rolled over on the most important piece of the Chicago White Sox; the fan. A whirlwind Miami appearance, and much later a half-hearted love letter to Chicago, and it was all over. If it wasn't for these last acts of desperation and greed by Ozzie Guillen, I probably would have held on to a few Miami Marlins cards of him. Sometimes it's not what you do, but how you exit that leaves the greatest impression on fans. After many great things, including a World Championship, Sox fans will remember Ozzie for his cowardice and selfishness. It shouldn't be like that. I wished it wouldn't have ended like that, but those actions are out of my control. It is what it is and that was a slap in the face to all the people who supported him, even when it seemed like the whole world was against Ozzie Guillen. I will not be actively pursuing any Miami Marlins cards of Ozzie Guillen.
The free agent poaching bonanza claimed some great names and some great talent, but only one player has both, plus the cool, laid back confidence that made him the steal of the offseason; Mark Buehrle.