Opening Day memories: When under-appreciated Mark Buehrle made the play of the year on Opening Day

With Opening Day 2020 postponed since of the coronavirus pandemic, Sporting News staffers look back at their most unforgettable Opening Days from the past.

Anything can occur on OpeningDay

That’s the beauty of baseball– Game 1 can matter as much as Game162 The divisional series you play the first week in April can return to haunt you in division races. March 26 suggests as much as Sept. 27.

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Truth be informed, I had not participated in an Opening Day till 2019, when I was covering for SN. Think it: There is some kind of aura and mystique about Opening Day that simply isn’t there in other sports. There’s an optimism, a hope, that every fanbase has, even if the total outlook is bleak.

Well, aside from waxing poetic about being at Opening Day, there are still plenty of chances to capture something unique on TELEVISION. Case in point: White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle on April 5, 2010.

It’s hard to think that it’s practically been 10 years given that the lefty made this play (practically as hard as it is to bear in mind how to spell his surname on a constant basis), however it’s something that’s burned into my brain. The play held up for the whole 2010 season, winding up as the play of the year in lots of people’seyes

Often baseball is simply dumb luck? Even on their best swing, batters can’t manage precisely where the ball lands. Pitchers aren’t constantly going to make that ideal pitch, even if they have the most exact release point.

Possibly that’s why this play is so renowned: It had a bit of whatever. The blind flick in between the legs by Buehrle and the sneaky-good bare-handed snag by Paul Konerko. A dash of that dumb luck with legally excellent fielding.

Let’s keep in mind, Buehrle was adept at fielding his position. At the time he made this play, he was coming off his first Gold Glove season on the mound, and he would win 3 more consecutively after that.

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However aside from being excellent at fielding his position, Buehrle was a much better pitcher than numerous keep in mind. He was the meaning of constant and reputable, specifically throughout a time when the AL Central was normally a 3-team race amongst the White Sox, Tigers and Twins, with the Indians having a couple of good teams in there too. Buehrle was likewise a member of the 2005 world champ White Sox, one of the most forgotten, excellent teams over the past twenty years. He was worth 52.3 fWAR/60 bWAR in his profession, so he was an extremely efficient, excellent pitcher and certainly much better than numerous most likely recognize.

Buehrle was a workhorse, too: He pitched more than 200 innings in every season other than his novice year (51 1/3 innings) and his last (198 2/3 innings). While some of his profession advanced numbers are good (4.11 FIP and a 117 AGE+), Buehrle was never ever the type of pitcher who would be a preferred for the Cy Young, however he was constantly the man you ‘d rely on as a No. 2. He completed leading 5 in Cy Young voting one time.

While Buehrle retired following the 2015 season after 3 years with the Blue Jays and one with the Marlins, his No. 56 was retired in June 2017, decreasing in White Sox history as one of the best pitchers the franchise has actually seen.

Oh, and by the method, Buehrle pitched an ideal game in 2009, following up his 2007 no-hitter.

It must be good to be kept in mind for something, ?

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