John Tomase

Bloom's Red Sox tenure marred by one unforgivable offense, so now he's gone

"The last straw for ownership may have come earlier this month."

NBC Universal, Inc.

Chaim Bloom's greatest sin as Red Sox chief baseball officer had little to do with the quality of his farm system, the rigorousness of his processes, or even the product he put on the field.

It was turning buzz into zzzzzzzzz.

The transformation started long before his arrival, to be fair, but it accelerated on his watch as the club that once dominated the news cycle transitioned to afterthought and then irrelevance.

The last straw for ownership may have come earlier this month, when former MVP Mookie Betts returned to Boston and received a hero's welcome not just from appreciative Red Sox fans, but the sea of Dodger Blue crashing over Fenway Park like endless breakers on the Cape. The Alex Cora Travel Agency tried to sell the invasion as Dodgers fans making the cross-country pilgrimage to experience the majesty and splendor of America's most beloved ballpark, but he knew as well as we that transplants simply gobbled up the tickets the locals didn't want.

If that sight didn't make the point clearly enough, then surely John Henry and Co. noticed not only the empty seats for what should've been a signature September showdown with the Yankees, but also the fact that tickets were going for as low as a dollar on the secondary market. In some cases, resellers just gave them away for free.

Bloom sold ownership on his long-term vision of building a contender from within that could compete annually, but at some point, today has to matter too. A ticking clock accompanies all rebuilds, but especially those undertaken in Boston. Today's limitless patience is tomorrow's e-mail announcing you've been relieved of your duties between games of a doubleheader, and Bloom failed to recognize that results needed to accompany his cringey proclamations that what the Red Sox planned to do would be awesome.

And so he is gone, the farm system in much better shape than he found it, but the big-league roster unmoored and adrift. He oversaw the departures of linchpins like Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Nathan Eovaldi, and J.D. Martinez, and he replaced them with . . . Kiké Hernández, whose idea of a cute, relatable story while being forcefed to the fans as the new face of the franchise was recounting the time he soiled himself in uniform. In every possible meaning of the word, gross.

Bloom believed that fans would embrace a winner and that nothing else mattered, but that's not how it works in Boston. Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino routinely clashed over this concept, with Lucchino pushing for stars, and Epstein preferring to build from within. But wanting to remain homegrown never stopped Epstein from swinging big for the likes of Curt Schilling, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez. Some splashes hit and others didn't, but the Red Sox were always relevant.

By contrast, the Red Sox under Bloom lacked direction. It is my understanding that ownership's doubts accelerated around the trade deadline, when Bloom appeared to be close on multiple deals that would've shipped out veterans like James Paxton and possibly even Justin Turner, with ownership's blessing, but instead did nothing. Following 2022's disastrous deadline two-step that left him standing in place, Bloom created doubts over his ability to close a deal that reached the top. His exit was only a matter of time.

So now the Red Sox begin the search anew. This has become an every-four-years rite for them, a fact which has undoubtedly caught the attention of every potential candidate in baseball. Coupled with Epstein's acrimonious departure, it's fair to say the Red Sox aren't viewed as a model of stability.

That said, they'll hopefully interview more than one candidate this time around, and they may even hit a home run, like they did with Epstein, Ben Cherington, and Dave Dombrowski. Each won World Series titles, but they also recognized what made the Red Sox relevant, and it wasn't their farm system rankings.

They put winners on the field, butts in the seats, numbers on NESN, and jerseys on the backs of their fans with names like Martinez, Ortiz, Pedroia, Beckett, Bogaerts, and Betts. They didn't tell us their string of last-place finishes would be awesome in the face of all countervailing evidence, they didn't get booed at their own fan festival, and they sure as hell didn't turn Fenway into an opposing paradise.

Bloom did all of those things, and that's why it's not his job anymore.

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