For the first time in his big league career, Mark Buehrle will be separated from his family.
The star pitcher, who was recently traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, and noted animal rights activist is the owner of a 2-year-old pit bull named Slater. And because pit bulls are outlawed in the province of Ontario, Buehrle and his wife, Jamie, had a difficult decision to make this offseason.
Would they leave their pit bull with someone else and move to Toronto, or would they live separately during the long baseball season?
In the end, the Buehrles decided it would be best if Jamie and their two kids stayed in St. Louis while Mark moved to Toronto alone. This will be the first time since Mark and Jamie started dating about 10 years ago that they'll live apart for the season.
"We're not trying to make people feel sorry for us," Buehrle told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. "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."
This isn't the first time the Buehrles have had to adjust their moving plans because of a pit bull ban. The dogs are also not allowed in Miami-Dade County, so when Buehrle signed with the Marlins, he and Jamie decided to live in neighboring Broward County.
While it may seem strange that the Buehrles are choosing to stay with their dog rather than their husband/father, Jamie told ESPN that they could never leave Slater for that long of a period.
"To me, that would be like if we moved somewhere that only allowed boys," Jamie said of giving Slater to a friend for the baseball season. "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."