Note: This post was originally slated to be published on March 10th, 2015; the day it was announced that Marcus Stroman was likely done for the season with a torn ACL. With Stroman’s impending return today, I thought it was only fitting to finally post this.
Every great student has a great teacher. And if you’re a young player who’s looking for some sound advice, there’s really no better source than a 16-year veteran with a World Series ring.
One of the most fascinating relationships to watch develop during Spring Training was the budding mentorship between Mark Buehrle and Marcus Stroman. Or as Marcus so affectionately refers to him, “Papa Buehrle”.
As Spring Training unfolded, we learned a lot about the relationship between Mark Buehrle and Marcus Stroman. The two could not be any more different, but in classic “Odd Couple” style, they find a way to somehow make it work.
Bob Elliott reiterated that bond between one of the Blue Jays’ elder statesman and one of the team’s brightest young stars.
Late last season as you may recall, Marcus Stroman was suspended for throwing at Caleb Joseph of the Baltimore Orioles, and Mark Buehrle responded with this sage-like advice:
Stroman took a seat in the Blue Jays’ third base dugout and Buehrle, the 15-year veteran, slid into the empty spot alongside him and said: “You’re an idiot.”
In a separate incident, Buehrle once again bestowed some guidance upon Stroman in relation to team dress code:
One night, Buehrle saw Stroman seated on the bench without his hat and said: “We wear caps around here.” Stroman put on his lid.
If anything, the Blue Jays have been criticized in previous years for running “too loose” of a clubhouse, but these notes about Buehrle are quite contrary to that. It may not be in a loud and boisterous fashion, but Mark Buehrle is there to remind his younger teammates of certain protocols.
As a young player on a Major League roster, it seems like it’s very important to have that one father-like figure on the team which they can use as a sounding board. And Marcus Stroman appears to have found that father-like figure in Mark Buehrle:
I can’t explain the impact that he’s had on my career, my life. Just the fact that I can go up to him and ask him any questions about any situation, not just about baseball – life situations. He’s there to answer them for me, he’s there to mentor me, to tell me how he goes about things.
When Mark Buehrle first arrived in Toronto, I think many were unsure if and how he would contribute to the team aside from his on-field performance. There may have been expectations he would bestow his knowledge and experience upon all the young players, but that didn’t really materialize in a concrete way until this year with Marcus Stroman.
If Mark Buehrle was going to take one of his teammates under his wing, he couldn’t have chosen a better protege than Marcus Stroman. With a wealth of talent and a strong desire to win, Stroman has arguably the biggest potential of all the Blue Jays’ young pitchers.
Papa Buehrle just making sure Marcus Stroman’s hair looks good for the cameras. pic.twitter.com/NQff0G3PNh
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) June 7, 2015
If ever there was one criticism of Roy Halladay during his time in Toronto, it’s that he led a somewhat sheltered existence as a Blue Jay. For the most part, Doc kept his head down and did his job; albeit with robot-like efficiency and it resulted in great individual success.
Imagine if Halladay might have opened up a bit more and provided a mentorship role to another pitcher just like Mark Buehrle has with Marcus Stroman. One can only imagine what it would be like to tap into a resource like Roy Halladay.
Mark Buehrle might not be on the same echelon as Roy Halladay, but as one of the most tenured starting pitchers in all of baseball, Buehrle certainly is a great resource for the Blue Jays to have on the roster.
The fact that Mark Buehrle is mentoring Marcus Stroman (and dare I say being his friend) is just a bonus.