Mark Buehrle will be facing one of the biggest challenges of his career this season.
Due to laws that ban pit bulls in Ontario, Buehrle’s family has decided to live in St. Louis for the upcoming season while the veteran pitcher plays his first season with the Toronto Blue Jays.
According to ESPN.com, the Buehrle’s considered living in Buffalo or Niagara Falls but the family, which includes wife Jamie, five-year-old son Braden, three-year-old daughter Brooklyn and four dogs (three vizlas and one pit bull), decided it was best to stay at home during the season.
Buehrle recently told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that he is struggling with the idea that he will spend the season without his family by his side.
“We’re not trying to make people feel sorry for us,” Buehrle said. “Obviously they’re going to say, ‘You make a lot of money. Boo-hoo.’ I know it’s part of baseball and every person deals with it, but this is our first time being away from each other all season.
“We’re going to travel and see each other and make it work. But those nights when we have a Sunday day game and I can go home and have dinner with the family and give the kids a bath and put them to bed, that’s what I’m going to miss.”
The family considered leaving the dogs with another family during the summer, but they weren’t comfortable with the arrangement.
“A lot of people have said, ‘We’ll just keep Slater for you,’” Jamie Buehrle told Crasnick. “To me, that would be like if we moved somewhere that only allowed boys. I wouldn’t leave my daughter behind. Six or seven months is a lot of time. Slater would adjust. He’s real easygoing. But I don’t want him to bond with someone else. He’s our dog. That wasn’t really an option.”
Buehrle almost ran into a similar problem last season when he signed with the Miami Marlins as a free agent. Pit bulls are prohibited in Miami-Dade County so the Buehrles decided to live in nearby Broward.
After he was acquired by Toronto, Buehrle told local reporters on a conference call that he was working to fight Ontario’s pit bull ban, but it appears he has been unable to make any progress on the issue.
While he told Crasnick he is excited to join a contending team with the Blue Jays, he still thinks the season will be incredibly challenging without his wife, kids, and dogs around all summer.