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Welcome To The Haters Ball

Drinks are on the house. Must show valid proof of rage to enter.

Boston Red Sox v Kansas City Royals
It’s like that!
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

August is always a rough month on Twitter — people are hot and angry about not being on vacation, unless they are on vacation, in which case they are largely not Posting. I think all but one of the times I’ve gotten blocked because of an angry interaction have been during this accursed month. But this year the party is coming to me.

The Red Sox Haters’ Ball is in full swing these days. Fans are mad and reporters are starting to say the quiet parts loud about this administration. State media has started to turn against Chaim Bloom as the team has wilted to become, literally, the worst in the league since basically the Summer Solstice:

But don’t take my word for it!

Even Malibu Man has got it right:

It’s bad! The only good news is that it probably can’t get worse than this, but that’s also bad news. That’s what keeps Bloom going — the idea that the process justifies the results, no matter how bad, and the ironclad belief that the process is correct.

I have no doubt that Bloom is a true believer to this end, but as head of the messaging committee for the Haters’ Ball, I can faithfully report that we have a different take, which is that being cheap and fielding middling teams is bad.

Of all the galling things about this year’s trade deadline, the most offensive part is that the Sox went over the luxury tax threshold that they cowered from in making the Betts trade. They’re not even consistent! Yes, it would have cost a lot of money to pay Betts, but contrary to popular belief, he’s still excellent: FanGraphs puts his wRC+ at 13th in the league, ahead of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Manny Machado, Jose Abreu and every Sox hitter except Rafael Devers. He is an elite talent and will remain so throughout the bulk of the remaining decade on his contract. And if he’s not, the Dodgers can trade him, eat some cash and go back to making it hand over fist in other ways, just as the Sox could have done.

The entire upside to Bloom’s approach, I hoped, was that the Sox would be decent enough to compete for titles year in and year out, even if my fear is that they wouldn’t be good enough to win one. At least we’d avoid becoming the laughingstock of the league as we had under previous administrations, but no! We’re reunited with the feeling, and it feels so bad.

A contrarian to the end, it gives me no pleasure to say the Sox will be better through the end of September. That’s inevitable. They’re not good, but they’re not this awful.

That said, they deserve every last bit of shit they’re taking. In any given offseason they could snap their fingers and start acting their age, so to speak, i.e., like a big-market team with cash to burn. They’ve chosen the slow-growth method, which is good in theory but rarely so in practice with this ownership group; they tend to whipsaw between approaches, and years like this are often the catalyst.

The only thing that gives me hope now is that the Haters’ Ballroom is just about full and we’re annexing some other venues for the overflow. Drinks are on the house, so drink deep. You’re gonna need to. You already do.