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Are We Too Hard On Bloomquist?

I'm not a fan of Willie Bloomquist. The problem isn't really Bloomquist himself, rather it's Bloomquist the idea, Bloomquist as he's presented. My guess is that, if you kept a running tally of every comment made during a Royals broadcast this season, you'd probably end up hearing more positive comments about Bloomquist than most of the other Royals. I'd bet, he's at least in the top 5, which is remarkable because a) he just isn't good and b) he doesn't play a lot. However, if you're of a certain baseball age, praising Bloomquist is evidence of how much you know about the game. There are lots of media and fans that live in that world, and they probably always will.

2010 - Willie Bloomquist 41 73 18 18 3 1 2 10 5 11 5 3 .247 .291 .397

Now, Bloomquist is damn lucky that he's slipped into that mold. Somehow, being the utility guy who hustles and does the little things has turned into a very lucrative career. As weird as it sounds, if Bloomquist was 20% better, he'd probably be out of baseball right now. If Bloomquist had been a slightly better hitter in the minors, I doubt the Mariners would have so quickly made him into a utility player, not wanting to mess up a potentially decent 2B. Now a 20% better Bloomquist still wouldn't have ended up as a useful Major League infielder, and he would have been viewed as a failed 2B prospect. If this guy can't hit enough to play 2B, there's no point in making him an OF. But because he was worse, he emerged as a jack of all trades, because he had no potential to lose. Sure, there's still the central fact that having a guy who plays a lot of positions and doesn't hit at all isn't actually that useful, but as far as I can tell no one else in the game sees it that way. He can play all over the field! This is like Target hiring me to stock shelves one day, cashier the next, and work in the pharmacy on the weekends, despite the fact that I'm bad at all of those jobs.

But back to 2010. As fan, we overanalyze things. We'd love to have a 24th or 25th man who is better than Bloomquist (and cheaper). We'd also love to have better middle relievers and a better 5th starter. So would every other set of fans in the game, however. If you read other team blogs, you'll soon discover that everyone has their own Bloomquist, and in their town the old school/non-reality based guys love that player and talk endlessly about how useful he is, and the people on sites like this one hate it. Now, there's a wider issue in the industry, perhaps, that rosters keep getting made in such a way, but it's close to a universal problem, like internet spam, the cold, or Twilight.

So yes, in some ways, I feel like hating Bloomquist is a responsibility. If so many people are going to worship at the church of St. Willie, I've got to be anticlerical. Maybe. Maybe not.

For me, I've only got so much animosity to go around (though it seems to be more than what most people have). As long as Bloomquist isn't playing too much, I've got to let it go. He's basically the last guy I'd like to see in the lineup, but if its only once or twice a week and as long as the other options are bad, what does it matter? He's over-rated and over-loved, but in the end, who really cares?