Willie Bloomquist is the Pavement of baseball players
After that Madonna post I feel like I sort of need to come back quickly and re-establish some form of musical credibility. So, now I will tell you all about how great I think the Pet Shop Boys are ...
I offer you a link (sorry, subscription only) to Baseball Prospectus in which Geoff Young uses the band Pavement -- which I like a lot, I swear! -- to explain why it is that people seem to have such a fascination with gritty, scrappy players like Willie Bloomquist and David Eckstein.
The upshot: psychological studies have found that stars whose gifts, such as they are, seem attainable evoke inspiration and love. In contrast, stars whose success seem unobtainable often leave observers feeling cold.
We like Willie Bloomquist and David Eckstein because they don’t seem all that different than us. We feel distant from Barry Bonds (or whoever) because there was some high-level genius going on there that we can’t quite grok. Same goes for Pavement, who sometimes aren’t too concerned with, you know, musicianship, while it’s harder to warm up to a band full of virtuosos. Like, I dunno, Yngwie Malmsteen or Rush.
Now all we have to do is to forget two things:
1. There are a lot of reasons to not like Barry Bonds, Yngwie Malmsteen and Rush separate and apart from their virtuosity; and
2. That, however normal and attainable they appear to us, Willie Bloomquist and Pavement actually have extremely developed skills that we could never, ever hope to replicate.
There. Now we can dislike them once again with a clear conscience.