...can make a man feel ill at ease.
(From "Too Much Of Nothing," The Basement Tapes)
This is what it's like to be a Royals fan. For years, you put up with the worst baseball imaginable from a major-league franchise. All the while, you curse the big payroll teams for simply buying the most expensive players and never going through the pain of a losing season, but you do have to acknowledge that your team is run by clueless morons.
Then one day, new leadership comes in. Finally, the team looks like it has a plan. The payroll increases, the spending on scouting and draft picks increases, some of the promising young players are signed to longer deals. The team rips through the final month of the season with an 18-8 record, climbing out of last place for the first time in 5 years. As the offseason starts, the team has a wishlist of free agents that are actually intriguing. You start to dream a little: "Rafael Furcal would look great in blue! He can lead off, he walks and steals bases. And we'd be moving a shortstop to play second--what a great defense we will have!" Or maybe: "Well, Furcal might be a little expensive, but Orlando Hudson is a good solid second baseman. And Mike Aviles looked good at shortstop last year, we don't have to move him to second." Or even: "Boy, Pat Burrell would fix up this offense! And we'd never have to watch Jose Guillen play outfield again!"
But, of course, reality sets in. The Yankees spend roughly $87 billion on players. And after trading for a first baseman when they already have three players at that spot, and trading for another outfielder, and worst of all, signing an overpriced mediocre reliever, the Royals decide they don't have any money left. So instead of getting Furcal or Hudson or someone else with above-average ability to play second or short, the Royals come up with Plan B.
Perhaps that was really Plan Q.
I just can't get excited about this signing. At least it's only $1.5 million a year, but still...when fans are expecting a Rafael Furcal or an Orlando Hudson and instead get the second coming of Keith Miller (seriously, check baseball-reference's similar batters), it's rather frustrating. Somehow, a competition for the starting second base job between Alberto Callaspo and Bloomquist just isn't that exciting.
To be fair, there are some good things about Bloomquist. He's cheap, as I mentioned. He can play any spot on the field (he has played everywhere except pitcher and catcher in his career). His SB/CS ratio is very good: 71/16. His addition likely is officially the end of Tony Pena Jr.'s time in KC. He did post an OBP of .377 last year, a slight upgrade from Pena's .189 mark. He's never played more than 102 games in a season, so his legs should be fresher than most guys' when the heat of August rolls around. And, much to The Amazing Michelle's chagrin, I can now make the same stupid Army of Darkness "This is my...BLOOMQUIST!" joke I have loved so much since he joined the league, even though it's really not very funny. Hey, I'm not a writer for 30 Rock, what do you want from me?
(Side note: Tina Fey, if you're reading this, I would LOVE to be a writer for 30 Rock. Call me!)
Where was I? Oh yeah, trying to convince myself to be excited about the 2009 season. One thing I know after all these years of being a Royals fan, once spring training starts in a few weeks, it will be a lot easier to get excited. But for now, this has been a disappointing offseason. Which is all part of being a Royals fan.