By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Mark Buehrle's tarp-diving days officially came to a close Sunday afternoon, now slipping and sliding in its fourth year of rain delay theater.
During the second of two rain delays in the White Sox 6-4 victory over Toronto in 4 1/2 innings, Buehrle entertained the rain-soaked masses by walking out to the field and gliding across the tarp on his stomach after taking a running start from right-center. He followed that graceful move with another dive toward home plate as the rain poured down.
As Buehrle walked back toward the dugout after completing the show, he raised his hands to acknowledge the crowd's approval and seemed to wave one hand as if to indicate the fans should also partake in the activity. Neither of those moves sat very well with the organization, especially general manager Ken Williams.
Both Buehrle and manager Ozzie Guillen said the left-handed ace would be fined for his actions. Guillen did not chastise Buehrle for his perceived indiscretion, but the manager was not about to stand up for arguably his favorite player on the team if Buehrle had been injured during the tarp dive.
In an e-mailed response to MLB.com, Williams also made it crystal clear as to what he thought about Buehrle taking another dive during the next rain delay.
"He needs to find another hobby," Williams wrote, although he did not confirm Buehrle's fine.
A fan came out of the stands and decided to do his own tarp dive shortly after Buehrle left the field, but he was immediately apprehended by security. One team official said that the fear of inciting other fans to follow in his footsteps also was a strong reason for Buehrle to simply stick to pitching.
Buehrle didn't speak to the print or electronic media as he was walking out of the clubhouse, smiling as he said that he probably shouldn't comment because he got in trouble for his actions. But he did talk briefly to the television crews right after the victory.
"After I came in, somebody else said [I was fined]," Buehrle said in the interview. "We'll see if it comes out to be the truth, but if it is, I won't be out there anymore. I can't have any fun no more."
Future fun for Buehrle probably will have to consist of earning 20 victories or winning the American League Cy Young Award.