THE DAILY REFORMER NEWS
On Thursday, the Red Sox embark upon their 123rd season, their 112th year at Fenway Park, and their fourth campaign under the stewardship of Chaim Bloom.
Has it really only been three years and change since the Red Sox hired him?
So far, his time in Boston has been quite the tempestuous, turbulent roller coaster ride. His teams have finished last twice in three seasons, with a shocking ALCS run like the creme filling in between two disappointing halves of a cookie. He traded Mookie Betts and lost Xander Bogaerts, but got Rafael Devers to sign a franchise-record extension.
Bloom won’t make excuses, nor is he looking for pity. And he’ll be the first to tell you that he’s unconcerned with his own legacy; his focus is on the team. Ahead of Opening Day, the Herald caught up with him at Fenway Park. Here’s the chief baseball officer in his own words.
Boston Herald: “How are you feeling about the team compared to (when) pitchers and catchers (reported)?”
Chaim Bloom: “You know, I’m excited. Hopefully we get out of there on a good note, but excited that we get to this point, broadly speaking in a good place and you know really having seen out of a lot of guys what we were hoping to see this spring.”
BH: “How are you feeling about (Chris) Sale?”
CB: “I just have enjoyed being around in the spring, because he has a spring in his step. He’s happier than I’ve seen since I’ve been here and I think that’s a credit to how good he feels.”
BH: “He’s been radiating excitement. He told me he wanted to face live hitters, the first day you let him throw a bullpen.”
CB: “Yeah! He has really been pushing us, which is a great sign because he is a veteran who knows his body and is this incredible competitor. This guy, what he can bring, not just on the field, but in the clubhouse, the force of his personality, the passion that he has, how much he cares about his teammates, it’s really special. And for him to be feeling as good as he’s felt this spring has been a joy.”
BH: “Do you think that with him not being around for most, or a lot, of the last three years basically, the team was kind of missing that? Like, that iconic video of him screaming in the dugout during the World Series, for example. That kind of energy.”
CB: “Yeah, I mean, he made his presence felt and he was around a lot. And you know, even in ’21, I think that game that he started in St. Pete during our COVID outbreak, what he said to the group before that game, the way he pitched that night, that was kind of a low-key really big moment for us that season. So, he has made his presence felt over the last few years. But you know, it’s not the same when you’re not playing, and he knows that and when he’s out there doing what he does so well, it just makes everything else, it enhances everything else.”
BH: “Everyone’s picking you guys to finish last, which is both fair and unfair, but how are you feeling about the division? A lot of injuries popped up for the Yankees.”
CB: “The division has been, for a long time, probably the toughest division in sports. You could argue that this year, it is now top-to-bottom stronger than it’s ever been. That is the reality and it’s part of what makes competing in the AL East so special. We’re not taking anybody less seriously because of the way anybody’s been banged up. We know this division is gonna be tough. We know the mountain we have to climb. And I, for one, I’m certainly not looking down on anybody for picking us where they pick us. We earned that by the way we played last season. So, we have to go out and do what we need to do and ultimately that’s what matters. But I think to sit here and tell people, ‘you should feel better than you do,’ we earned the right to be picked where we’re picked, we earned the right to be the underdogs because, we didn’t show what we needed to the show not to be, so we get a chance to show it.”
BH: “David Ortiz said recently that he likes when people pick the Red Sox as underdogs. Do you feel like this is a team with something to prove, they have a chip on their shoulder? Do you kind of almost relish in the chance to, hopefully, prove people wrong?
CB: “Yeah, I mean it really, to me, it just comes down to we want to win. Whether we’re picked first or last or anywhere in between, we’re still going to want to win, so I’m not gonna spend too much time worrying about that. I do think we have a lot of guys individually, and then, this group as a whole, that feels like it has something to prove. I think that can be a good thing, that can be dangerous, but you still have to go out and do all the things right, to earn the right to be in contention and in the postseason. We have a lot of steps to go before we can really talk about that. We have to do things right every day, we’ve got to focus on the right things. It is true that, I think over the last however many years, expectations, predictions have almost had an inverse relationship with how the team has actually done. I don’t think that’s predictive. The end of the day, it’s on us to do things right, to grind at-bats, to throw strikes, to do what we need to do every day to put together a good season and earn the right, the shot to go to the postseason.”
BH: “Any injury updates? How’s (Adalberto) Mondesi, Joely Rodriguez, how are the guys who are not going to be ready(for Opening Day)?”
CB: “Joely’s not gonna be ready. Obviously Mondi, we still need to get him ready to play in a game so he can have his own spring training. You know, we’re actually, with me being up here, we’ve got some stuff going on down (at spring training) before the team gets out of there, to kind of get final check-ups on those guys, so we have the best handle on where they’re at. Those two guys are going to stay in Fort Myers for now as they continue to rehab, we just have more of an ability, you know, with them to do what they need to do, for them to do what they need to do outside and consistently with our staff down there. So we’ll bring them along. There’s no timetable on either of them yet. We’re going to get more information in the next couple of days and then, hopefully, be able to set some expectations going into the season.”
BH: “Last thing, if you could address ‘the nation’ directly, what would you say to fans before Opening Day?”
CB: “Well, as far as this group, I would say I think it’s gonna be a fun team. Obviously, every season has twists and turns, ups and downs. I think this is going to be a fun group. Hopefully, we do our part, and we get the blessings of the baseball gods, and we can have the summer we want to have, but I think this is a really good group and now gets a chance to show that on the field on a daily basis. And then, zooming out, I know I’ve said it before, you know, obviously, we’ve been through a period of time where it has been hard at times to love the Red Sox. What I think we’re now getting into, is a period where, whether it’s familiar faces or new faces, we’re going to be able to watch this group continue to grow together. Again, some faces that everybody already knows, some guys that we’re going to get to know, some of them aren’t even here yet, and we want that to be a feeling that we create on a consistent basis. And I’m looking forward to that being more of the feeling going forward, that we see things coming together and getting better and better. Baseball’s challenging. There’s going to be easy, fun days, there’s going to be hard days. That happens in any season. But as far as seeing where the arrow is pointing and seeing this group continue to grow, I think we’re well on our way.”
As reported by Boston Herald
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Author: Amnon Jakony | The Daily Reformer News
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