SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When he was a player, Willie Bloomquist would arrive at the Major League complex in January to prepare for Spring Training and couldn't help but notice a bunch of guys running around in big league uniforms with decidedly un-big league like skills."I've always seemed to be at
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When he was a player, Willie Bloomquist would arrive at the Major League complex in January to prepare for Spring Training and couldn't help but notice a bunch of guys running around in big league uniforms with decidedly un-big league like skills.
"I've always seemed to be at the complex when the teams I played with had their Fantasy Camps going on," Bloomquist said. "And you see them all week always laughing and having a good time."
This week, as the D-backs host their 12th Fantasy Camp at Salt River Fields, Bloomquist gets a chance to see the experience up close as one of the camp's instructors.
"Now I know why they were having so much fun," Bloomquist said. "It's hilarious. These guys have good personalities and on the coaching side, Mark Grace and Matt Williams know how to keep things loose."
Bloomquist retired following the 2015 season after playing for 14 seasons in the big leagues, including a three-year stint with the D-backs from 2011-13.
A little less than a year ago, he rejoined the D-backs organization as a special assistant to team president/CEO Derrick Hall.
"Derrick has given me a lot of freedom to kind of figure out the role as I go," Bloomquist said. "He knows that at some point in time I eventually want to be back in uniform. On the other hand, he knows and I've made it clear that I'm not ready for that yet. It wouldn't be fair to my wife and kids to jump right back in and commit the time that it would take to be in uniform."
Bloomquist and his wife, Lisa, have four daughters ranging in age from 2 to 11, so heading back on the road with a team again is not an option right now.
And just like when he was a player, who was respected for his intense work ethic, Bloomquist does not believe in doing anything half-hearted or unprepared, so he's taking advantage of his current position to learn the ins and outs of the front office.
Last month, Bloomquist traveled to the Winter Meetings with the D-backs baseball operations department to see firsthand how trades and free-agent deals are made. He spent time last season working with the D-backs' low-level Minor League clubs in Hillsboro and Missoula as well as the Rookie Arizona League.
"In order to be good on the field, I think you have to be able to understand what goes on in the front office," Bloomquist said. "You turn the page on being a player and now you see how all the gears and all that stuff work from the top and see what makes it go. This position allows me to stay in the game and be at home a lot with my family and be a husband and a dad. This is perfect for me right now."
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.