"A gamer is someone who does whatever he can to win - stealing home, making a diving catch, taking out the second baseman, hitting the clutch homer, always playing hard. A gamer doesn't care about his stats. He never takes a game off for a phony reason. He gets his uniform dirty."
-- Lowell Cohn, Award-winning journalist & idiot
For as long as there has been sports journalism, we can deduce that there has been an equal length of history of the adoration of the "gamer," the scrappy player who appears to "play the game the right way," to quote Joe Morgan.
For a more general understanding, well, we all know what a gamer truly is: he's the inferior player whose hustle, character, and/or other qualities endear him to sappy, moronic journalists like Cohn, as well as towards the populous of fans.
While usually a high-character guy, a gamer is inevitably a cancer to the team. Yes, you read that last line right. While endearing himself to the fan base, he's crippling the lineup when he plays. No amount of smiles, great interviews, and autographs can make up for inferior talent.
So apologies to the Willie Bloomquists of the world. In the Northwest, Willie Bloomquist might as well be king at the moment despite hitting like an invalid. Baseball Prospectus saw the ailment, writing in 2005 equating the middling utility infielder who lacks hitting and doesn't do particularly at most of the defensive positions he plays as a syphilitic incubation.
"This kind of infection by local white boys with scrappy personalities is often untreatable." Bloomquist has been putting up EQAs in the .240s or worse since 2003, but still has seen over 200 PAs in three seasons during that stretch, an untenable decision by management. Letting a scab play for more than a third of the season should force a GM's firing, as it is a proverbial slap to the face of a franchise; a clear message that says "I'm scrapping this season by playing this 'scrappy' player while holding up his successors to muck around in the minors."
A gamer like Bloomquist, who handicaps the offense while failing to provide any defensive value beyond playing more than two positions should only be revered for the fact that he made it to The Show, and beyond that should only play when no short-term alternative can be found. The seemingly poetic fantasizing that journalists have with these futility players is merely for the show of their trifling bs-ing, an attempt to sap the audience in a fantastic story than provide the truth. The adoration that these journalists engender is sickening.
If you hope for success for your favorite franchise, don't lay your sympathies with the cancers that prevent progression. Attack and treat the infection, so that the health of your team can be restored.
Mike White is a senior at Gonzaga University and hates watching Nick Punto in the batters box.