CHICAGO -- A very traditional fellow, Mark Buehrle has upheld a couple of them: the White Sox tradition for solid pitching, and left-handers' tradition for occasionally acting and speaking goofy. Buehrle, for instance, has a personal tradition for bellyflopping on the tarp during U.S. Cellular Field rain delays -- something he promised to refrain from during the World Series. And who can forget that when teammate Scott Podsednik landed on the Final Vote ballot for this summer's All-Star Game, Buehrle grabbed a field microphone and delivered a lengthy campaign speech to White Sox fans.
He also is the one who opened a can of Chicago worms in June by suggesting a North Side pitcher might be throwing balls with illegal stuff on them. That prompted one of those pitchers, Greg Maddux, to ask, "And who is Mark Buehrle?" Ahem. He is the one who will be starting Sunday's Game 2 of the World Series, as the White Sox repeat their dynamite Championship Series rotation and attempt to go up 2-0 after Saturday night's 5-3 victory. But to the South Side, Buehrle has long been the left-hander who needs no introduction, a free spirit who speaks with passion and pitches with panache, having won 14-plus each of the last five seasons. He also pitches with haste -- making him just what the weatherman ordered for Sunday's Game 2 of the World Series, expected to unfold in chill and rain. "The faster you work, the better off you're going to be," noted Buehrle. "I just don't see any reason to go out there and waste time. Just get out there and throw the ball." And -- one of Ozzie Guillen's favorite expressions -- throw the opposition under the bus. When Buehrle is on and his dazzling array of pinpointed pitches confounds batters, they have little chance to think and adjust -- because he's on the rubber when he gets the ball back and is ready to again let it fly. Three of his 2005 starts were over in less than two hours. So, when asked what he expected from Buehrle, Guillen was apt to say, "Same thing we always do. A dinner reservation for 4 o'clock."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.