Mark Buehrle is not without contrition when talking about Wednesday’s ‘Balk-gate’ in Cleveland, even though he still has no idea what went wrong where one of the game’s top pickoff moves is concerned.
But according to the left-hander, one of the more easy-going and even-tempered players in the game, he knew his time was short in Cleveland following the second-inning disagreement with first-base umpire Joe West, leading to manager Ozzie Guillen’s ejection.
“Obviously, I was in the wrong for throwing my glove down,” said Buehrle, who was tossed after throwing his glove to the ground when West called the second balk with one out in the third. “I didn’t mean to. It was in frustration, sort of like when you throw it up or do something.
“But I could have done anything. I could have raised my arms in the air or shook my head. I was going out of there.”
Buehrle said he drew a line in the dirt after the second inning balk to show West if he called the balk based on going over that line, then he was wrong.
“I wasn’t trying to show him up. I wasn’t trying to. I’m not trying to get tossed,” Buehrle said. “I was just trying to show him where it was at. Then, Ozzie came out and protected me.
“After that, I don’t think it mattered what I did. It was just a matter of time and I was getting tossed.”
There was one humorous piece of irony coming from this otherwise troublesome situation. West, who has preached through the media about teams keeping the flow of the game going and avoiding delays, ejected one of the quickest workers in all of Major League Baseball.
“Soon as I kicked him out of the game, I’m like, ‘This is great, now how long is this game going to take?'” said West, speaking on the Waddle and Silvy showing from Thursday morning on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. “So we aren’t looking to kick him out of the game, we aren’t looking to pick on anybody. The simple fact of the matter is that he balked and he didn’t like it and that he threw his glove, that’s what happened.
“The balks were stepping to home plate; he didn’t step towards first base. And I don’t remember him doing that before, it’s just a balk is a balk. And this is what’s kind of disheartening, I mean this is one of the fastest working pitchers in the world; we aren’t trying to get him out of the game.”
Chicago’s celebration over the immense success of the Blackhawks, who reached the Western Conference Finals against San Jose by virtue of a 5-1 victory over Vancouver on Tuesday, has crossed over into the world of Major League Baseball.
“I love it. Chicago really needs it,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen of the Blackhawks. “We all (stink). All sports in Chicago are very bad, and we need that.
“We need something good and positive for the city. We all need that. I spent more time in Chicago than Caracas. I’m a big Chicago fan.”
Guillen doesn’t claim to be a bandwagon jumper because he doesn’t know enough about the NHL to even qualify in that category. He’s simply happy for the city of Chicago.
“It’s a great sports city. The fans need wins,” Guillen said. “They’re desperate to have fun, and I don’t think there’s a more fun city when they’re winning.
“The Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, the Bears–we’re not doing too good. Hopefully at the end of the season, the White Sox made those guys smile. But right now we don’t and we need the Blackhawks to eat the Sharks in San Jose.”
Before closing out his analysis of the Chicago professional sports landscape, Guillen ventured into the world of the NBA and addressed LeBron James’ future.
“He can’t go to Chicago because he wants to be the man and Ozzie Guillen is the man,” said Guillen with a laugh. “He’s going to be No. 3 there. Lou Piniella is No. 2.”