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Boston Red Sox Spring Training

Chaim Bloom Is a Terrible Liar

Matt Dermody shouldn’t be starting today.

Not a banner day.
| Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

I don’t know what’s more offensive: The fact that Matt Dermody is starting for the Red Sox today, or Chaim Bloom’s attempts to explain it away. As Sean McAdam wrote today for MassLive, Dermody tweeted in 2021 that gay people were going to hell, prompting his Japanese team to issue an apology, and, now, creating a 2023 headache for Bloom during an already tense Pride Month across the league. Here’s most of Bloom’s quote from the McAdam piece, emphasis mine:

“It’s important to us that he had taken the tweet down and important why he had done it,” Bloom said. “I talked to him personally about that and what he told me was that it really came down to two things. One, he didn’t realize that his words would be hurtful and he didn’t want to hurt anybody and when he realized that they were, he took (the post) down.

“He also understood that it’s not the right use of his platform. He knows he made a mistake tweeting that. That’s why he took it down. Obviously, that doesn’t mean that we endorse anything he said or anything he believes. But the fact of the matter is, if we’re committed to creating an (inclusive) environment, it’s not right for us to police what people believe.

“We do need to expect that everybody here is going to be committed to creating an inclusive and safe environment and so understanding why he had taken the tweet down and that his words were hurtful, and knowing that he doesn’t want to hurt anybody and that he believes in a safe environment, was important here.”

First of all, when you say someone is going to hell, the point is to hurt people, full stop. Second, Dermody hasn’t learned a thing, as our own Fitzy Mo Peña found with a cursory Twitter search that reveals that hey, if Dermody isn’t a homophobe, he’s merely a bloodthirsty insurrectionist who believes in the “final war,” or did until he signed with the Sox:

There’s plenty more of this, as you can imagine, but right-wing nonsense is tolerated in Major League Baseball in a way that anti-gay speech isn’t anymore (thankfully). If the laws of the country were determined by a majority vote of the American voters in the MLBPA, America’s laws would probably look a lot like Florida’s.

You know all this, I know all this, everyone knows all this. Dermody isn’t special. So why is Bloom lying for him? Beyond that, why does Chaim Bloom lie so poorly, and so often? It’s more insulting for him to run paper-thin cover for Dermody’s obvious intentions than for a random lunatic to make a spot start, which probably happens all the time and we just don’t know it.

It fits a depressing pattern. In the bad times — post-Mookie trade, post-2020, post-2022, the Xander Bogaerts talks, Ryan Brasier doing anything — Bloom reverses the maxim of “always tell the truth and you’ll have less to remember” to “always lie, and you’ll never have to reveal the truth.” Anyone who has listened to him talk about baseball on a podcast knows how smart and forthcoming he can be, so it’s always a shock to the system when he goes full-on Liebot. The only other time I can remember so plainly lied to by management is when Theo Epstein desperately claimed Jeff Suppan was the mid-season trade addition that would put the team over the top. To win the World Series. It was total nonsense, and you could see it tearing Theo apart just to say it, whereas for Bloom it seems to come out naturally.

But my big question is why Dermody is starting for the Sox at all. I usually caution about getting worked up about a single-game blip, but this is a team with seven starting pitchers and loads of relief options run by the guy who invented the concept of the opener. For the record, Dermody has never started a game! His career ERA is 5.60! He has pitched two innings since The Last Jedi was released! The only explanation I can come up with is that they want to test him at the big league level, given his decent AAA stats, and by using him as a spot starter they guarantee they’ll actually use him in the game.

In theory, this makes a wisp of sense, but it’s missing the beach for a grain of sand. Not merely in the contextual sense — i.e., for having signed a total dumbass and lied for him — but the practical one. You’re the Boston Red Sox! It’s 2023! You’ve had almost three and half years to avoid this! And you say the team is competing! Fun fact: The whole reason the 2018 Rays used the opener was they didn’t have enough starters. It was a competitive advantage. This is not.

Even if Dermody is sharp, there’s not enough upside to justify this, in Year 4. Wasting a starting slot on a flyer to get the smallest possible advantage is real Winner’s Curse material, in that Bloom has succeeded in reliably working the edges well enough that he has done so with diminishing returns. If you look at Chris Cotillo’s MassLive article from Tuesday about how everyone the Sox cut before the season is bad, maybe the problem wasn’t that the Sox chose right but that they reliably signed bad players? With the notable exception of Xander Bogaerts, who has almost 11 years to turn it around, the best players the Sox let go thrive in new environments, while the bad ones flame out. This is the opposite of how you want things to go, right? Yes? Okay.

Three and a half years of this nonsense. The goal of the organization is to win baseball games, not derive the slightest of edges from decreasingly important spots on the field. If Corey Kluber and Nick Pivetta aren’t good enough to start, maybe they never were, and if you’re forced to turn to Matt Fucking Dermody to stay above .500 in mid-June, at what point are you the problem? Bloom’s best two moves, by far, have been signing Masataka Yoshida for far above MLB consensus and drafting Marcelo Mayer at the fourth pick when he fell due to contract concerns. These were a) a well-thought out move with a huge upside and b) A move that fell in his lap and, because he ran the Red Sox and not the Rays, he was able to execute. In both of these cases, the Red Sox used their status as a behemoth to bring talented people on board.

They are the exceptions to Bloom’s rule. His tenure, so far, is defined by stunts like the Darmody Affair. So why does this brilliant and often charming guy keep kicking the can on a championship series, only to deny he did so once it’s left his foot, in front of scores of witnesses? It’s not a rhetorical question, and the answer hasn’t changed since he was brought aboard: It’s because this is a five-year plan, always has been a five-year plan, and he is working to that end. It’s plain as day, but he just won’t say it. He thinks you can’t handle the truth, or acts like he does because ownership says so, but they deserve each other at this point — and, as fans, we deserve better than Matt Dermody, for every reason there is.

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