In the Fall of 2019, Chaim Bloom was hired as Chief Baseball Officer of the Boston Red Sox. As far as I know, the job was never posted on LinkedIn or Glassdoor. If it were, I likely would have thrown my hat in the ring, much like the time I declared for the 2017 NBA draft. Without a formal job listing, it’s impossible to nail down the exact job description, but with the CBO title, we can assume he was put in charge of most things baseball. That includes signings, trades, scouting, minor league promotions, hiring coaches, drafting, and more. Read that list again. Now read it a third time for good measure. Three readings should be enough for you to notice that nowhere on the list of responsibilities does it say “playing baseball”.
In 2004, Dave Roberts stole second base in game four of the ALCS, breathing an ounce of life into a fanbase burdened by a decades-old curse. Theo Epstein would have been thrown out by 30 feet. In 2007, Josh Beckett shut down the Rockies for seven innings to set the tone for the series. Theo Epstein likely would’ve only made it through three scoreless before fatigue set in and his effectiveness waned (Those Rockies weren’t very good). In 2013, when the city banded together in a time of need, fans never sang Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” when Ben Cherington claimed a player off waivers. And in 2018, when Nathan Eovaldi pitched six innings on a day of rest, Dave Dombrowski needed arthritis medication from just watching.
Yes, all of these men were able to do what Chaim Bloom couldn’t by winning a World Series. He was the team’s primary decision-maker and failed to put a winning team on the field. I believe it’s okay to be critical of him, or any defacto-GM, for that reason. What I don’t agree with is blaming individual performances on the man who put the team on the field. Connor Wong didn’t strike out because he wasn’t an adequate return for Mookie Betts; Tanner Houck didn’t get hit in the face by a Chaim Bloom line drive; and Chaim Bloom didn’t teach Triston Casas how to field a ground ball.
If you want to pretend like you would have done a better job and celebrate his termination to distract yourself from your seventh-place fantasy team, be my guest and take your victory lap. Bloom is gone, congratulations. If you want to mourn his firing because you believed in his grand plan, feel free to do that as well.
All I ask is that the next time you turn on the game or head to Fenway, you pay attention to your excitement levels throughout the game. Are you more excited when the Red Sox hit a home run, or when there’s a shot of a middle-aged man in a polo shirt talking on the phone? If it’s the latter, consider enrolling in a night-time MBA program and seeing if you awaken something in yourself. If you’re more excited by the former, try focusing on the players on the field next season, instead of making the new GM the main character.