Much Ado About Mark Buehrle's Pitbull

By Thom Tsang
Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Could a dog stand between a man and his baseball millions?

…well, probably not.

Still, in the case of new Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle, it might be enough to make the pitcher think twice before permanently moving his family north of the border. As it stands now, the Buehrles are still in the process of figuring out exactly where they’re going to live next year.

See, despite Buehrle telling the press in a conference call that Toronto is one of his “favourite baseball cities”, one of the members of his family – a rescued pitbull named Slater – is actually an outlaw in the city. In fact, the dog is an outlaw across all of Ontario, complicating the veteran pitcher’s relocation plans for next season. Unlike during his stay in Miami (which has a similar ban), Buehrle can’t simply live outside the city to make it work – he’d have to move his family to a different province (or stay in the US) to keep the family unit intact, pitbull and all.

“I think it is going to be an obstacle,” says Buehrle of the provincial pitbull ban on the family’s plans, while pointing out that they are “looking at everything, every option” to make the transition easier.

Until the ban is lifted, however, it seems that Buehrle may have to fly solo during the baseball season – even if he’s to relocate his family to somewhere close to the border like Niagara Falls, it would still be at least a couple of hours away from Toronto itself. It’s not a preferred plan for the veteran pitcher, who says that the scenario would be “tough” on his wife Jamie.

So, does any of this have any bearing on how the 33-year old righty performs on the mound for the Blue Jays in 2013 and onwards? Should we be concerned that he’ll demand a trade out of Toronto?

Fortunately, it doesn’t sound likely that Buehrle will be turning his back on the Blue Jays anytime soon; and the reason? “It’s more about winning,” as the pitcher puts it succinctly. The Blue Jays, with a revamped roster in tow and still looking to add more, gives Buehrle an opportunity to be part of what will likely be a winning club in 2013, and one with a decent chance to make the post-season for the first time in two decades.

There may be concerns stemming from the relocation of Buehrle’s family, but success on the field will play a large part in alleviating them: “It makes food taste better, it makes your wife happier, it makes your family happier…everything’s better when you’re winning.”

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