Chicago White Sox

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Tom Long

Dark clouds hang over White Sox Nation.

The final indignity of a season of disappointments will likely soon come, with the contract of stellar lefthander Mark Buehrle expiring today with the end of the 2011 season. With the Sox poised to go into rebuilding mode, it is doubtful the free agent pitcher is part of the team plans moving forward. And that is a shame.

Over the past 11 seasons, Buehrle has been hands-down my favorite player in baseball. For a fan who treats baseball like his religion, this off-season is going to hurt. Last night’s performance — 7 innings, no runs, no walks and pitching out of jams caused by two errors — was typical of the man who can barely hit 89 MPH on the radar gun, yet has consistently fooled the best hitters in baseball with his great control and ability to throw first-pitch strikes. A tater served up by reliever Jesse Crain was the only run allowed in a hollow 2-1 victory.