Q&A with D-backs infielder Willie Bloomquist
Photography: Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
In last Wednesday’s thrilling comeback win over the Marlins, Willie Bloomquist led off the bottom of the ninth with a single. He later hustled from first to third on a ground ball that never left the infield. Bloomquist then scored the winning run on Justin Upton’s walk-off single. In his first season in Arizona, Bloomquist has served as a sparkplug at the plate and on the base paths for the D-backs.
D-backs Insider sat down with Bloomquist to talk Wednesday’s victory, executing the little things, and even some ASU baseball.
DI: Another huge win last night, and obviously you were a big part of that in the ninth. Were you going to third from the beginning once you saw the ball hit?
WB: Well I was running on the pitch, and it was kind of one of those instinct plays to where you know it’s going to be two long throws across the diamond. I timed him pretty well when he was releasing the ball at third. Looking back on it, it probably wasn’t the smartest play in the world. If I would’ve gotten thrown out it would have been the third out at third base, but I’ve done that play a few times to where I think I had it timed pretty well to where I was going to be safe. I wouldn’t have taken the risk if I didn’t think I was going to be safe.
DI: Gibby mentioned that one of the benefits of you going on that play is forcing them to make a long throw. Is that something that you thought about?
WB: Absolutely, it’s two long throws. One positive of me playing a variety of positions is I know on the flipside of that is that that’s a long throw for the first baseman, especially when you haven’t been throwing a lot. Usually you’re just flipping ground balls over there. So to come up and catch a ball and get rid of it back across the diamond, it’s going to take an absolute perfect throw to even have a chance of getting me. You force the other team to make plays. So if they make them maybe you tip your hat, maybe you don’t, but you got to make them first so you force the other team and put pressure on them. Usually good things happen when you’re the aggressor.
DI: This team seems to do the little things well. Is that a driving force behind the recent success?
WB: Well it’s certainly been a key point coming into this season. I think a more emphasis on instead of hitting a three-run home run, doing some little things properly. For example, you take the at-bat Justin had in the seventh (on June 1) when Kelly just hit a triple with one out. Him not getting big right there and trying to tie it up, him just taking a nice swing within himself and hitting a ground ball to second base and scoring the run to make it a 4-3 game. A lot of times guys will try and get big and pop that ball up to short or hit a shallow fly that doesn’t score the run, but that’s a big run to make it 4-3 instead of 4-2. That’s a little thing that he just did right. So those sort of things are starting to come together, and when we do those things we can be a pretty decent team.
DI: So as I’m sure you know, ASU baseball is back in the postseason this month. Are you going to follow your alma mater?
WB: I’m pulling for the kids. I hope they do well. For the kids’ sake I hope they do well. Obviously I still have ties and that’s my alma mater so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t pulling for them in some way shape or form. I wish the kids well. I hope they do really well there.