Picked-up pieces while wondering if the feds found a “Malcolm Butler/Top Secret” file at Mar-a-Lago …
▪ Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy was compelled this past week to issue a vote of confidence for Chaim Bloom and Alex Cora.
“I am very comfortable saying Chaim and Alex will be back,” Kennedy told The Athletic.
The proverbial vote of confidence. Since we never hear from ownership anymore (feels like John Henry is ghosting his baseball team), Kennedy’s backing will have to do.
How did the statement land with the Red Sox chief baseball officer — who has had a year like Eddie Mush in “A Bronx Tale” and is taking way more heat than his manager?
“I believe in what we’re doing here,” said Bloom, whose team is likely to finish last for a second time in his three Red Sox seasons. “This year has not so far gone the way any of us would have wanted. We’ll work hard to get better.
“We’re not in a great position now, but everyone’s going to keep competing and see where it takes us. We know we’re not a perfect team, but we all feel that there is a good baseball team in that clubhouse, but we have not at times been able to show it consistently. And we particularly have not shown it within the division [18-36].”
Is Bloom satisfied with the roster he put together to take into this season?
“We definitely didn’t think that this is where we would be,” he said. “It’s fair to say that some of the vulnerabilities you could have pointed to have played out in a way that hasn’t been good.”
Like right field, first base, and the bullpen.
“There was upside in a lot of those areas that we haven’t realized,” Bloom acknowledged. “We’ve got to look at why and what we can do differently.”
How does he explain the mixed message (trading his starting catcher, then acquiring veteran help one day later) he delivered at the trade deadline?
“I understand why people would see it that way,” Bloom said. “The fact was we were not in a great position. We couldn’t walk past a good deal for a player that was about to become a free agent [Christian Vázquez], but we also had enough of a real shot that we owed it to the organization and to our fans to honor that chance.
“It’s always more fun when you’re in first place and all you’re thinking about is adding. We weren’t. We didn’t earn that. And that’s on everybody here, including me.”
What’s it like to wake up every day and see that Mookie Betts just hit a couple more homers?
“We didn’t trade Mookie because we didn’t think he’s a good player,” Bloom said. “We know he’s a great player. It was more about where the organization was at that time and were we going to be able to maximize the rest of his prime.”
When I see Jeter Downs, Connor Wong, Franchy Cordero, and Josh Winckowski, I wonder whether Bloom & Co. actually had eyeballs on these players before acquiring them for the likes of Betts and Andrew Benintendi. Bloom assured me that Sox scouts saw all of them in advance of their acquisition.
“The game is changing and there’s a lot of new information, but if you haven’t had eyeballs on a guy, you are leaving yourself exposed,” Bloom said.
According to The Athletic, the Sox have only $92 million committed in payroll for 2023, which puts them $141 million under the luxury-tax threshold. They have a bunch of holes.
“We should be attacking each [offseason] as if it’s the most important one,” Bloom said. “We know we have a lot to work on.”
What’s Bloom’s response to the notion that the last-place Red Sox will be worse next year?
“It’s on us to prove that wrong,” he said. “I know we have work to do and some big decisions ahead [Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers]. This year is representative of how much work is left to do.”
Bloom says there is no mandate from ownership to cut payroll, adding, “We expect we will have resources to do the job.”
Thanks for the time, Chaim. But watch your back. Ownership always needs a scapegoat.
▪ NESN routinely misses the first pitch of a new inning after cramming extra commercials in between innings. It’s greedy, bush league, and insulting to those remaining Sox loyalists who deserve better.
▪ Perfect partnership. David Ortiz is promoting the LIV Golf Invitational Boston this weekend. “We’re really excited to have a partnership with him in our coverage,” LIV chief media officer Will Staeger told Front Office Sports. Is there nothing Big Papi won’t promote?
▪ Quiz: Name three current baseball franchises that have never had a league MVP (answer below).
▪ The Patriots could easily start this season 0-4. They open at Miami, then go to Pittsburgh, play Baltimore at home, and travel to Green Bay. If they go 0-4, it’ll be the first time they’ve lost four games out of the gate since Bill Belichick’s first year as head coach in 2000. That team finished 5-11. If it makes you feel any better, the Patriots play the Lions at home in Week 5.
▪ Our other “home” NFL team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, play their first two on the road in Dallas and New Orleans, then come home for back-to-back games against Green Bay and Kansas City. No early layups for Claymation Tom Brady.
▪ Nick Pivetta is 1-6 with a 7.24 ERA in 11 starts against AL East teams.
▪ Roger Clemens was drafted by the Red Sox, 19th overall, with their first pick of the 1983 draft. While the Sox were bragging about their first-round pick, ancient Carl Yastrzemski was playing his 23rd and final season for the team.
I mention all of this only because it was cool seeing the names “Clemens” and “Yastrzemski” in the same box score when the Tigers beat the Giants, 6-1, recently at Comerica Park.
Kody Clemens (son of Roger) played second base for the Tigers, batted third, and went 1 for 3, scoring a run and driving in one. Mike Yastrzemski (grandson of Carl) played center field for the Giants, batted eighth, went 2 for 3, and scored San Francisco’s only run.
▪ According to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, 7.8 percent of high school football players go on to play in college. Less than one-half of 1 percent (0.41) of those players go on to make an NFL roster after their final year of college eligibility. The average NFL career is 3.3 seasons.
▪ Did you know that Cal and Billy Ripken played a doubles match with Venus and Serena Williams in Baltimore at a Pam Shriver charity event back in 1993, two years before Cal broke Lou Gehrig’s ironman streak?
The Williams sisters were 13 (Venus) and 12 (Serena) at the time and said they’d never heard of the Ripkens. Likewise, Cal and Billy had never heard of the two girls from Compton, Calif.
The match started out as Ripkens vs. Williamses, but when the girls won 12 of the first 13 points (a Cal ace was the Ripkens’ only point), Shriver intervened and put Cal with Serena and Billy with Venus to even things out. Cal and Serena won in a tiebreaker.
▪ In non-Serena news, hope you noticed that Brandon Holt, the 24-year-old son of former champ Tracy Austin, beat No. 10 seed Taylor Fritz in the first round of the US Open Monday.
▪ A new school in Queens has been named after late Met Tommie Agee. The Tommie L. Agee Educational Campus, PS 419 in East Elmhurst, Queens, is not far from Citi Field.
▪ Speaking of Citi Field, one of my readers thinks that Mets slugger Daniel Vogelbach looks like Hoss Cartwright of “Bonanza” fame (I know “Bonanza” is an old-guy reference, but you should know that it was Larry Bird’s favorite TV show when he was growing up in French Lick, Ind.).
▪ One last Met thing: The Amazins’ closer, Edwin Diaz, enters home games to a recording of Timmy Trumpet’s “Narco.” Trumpet, an Australian trumpet player, was at Citi Field this past week for the Mets-Dodgers series. Trumpet played the familiar tune when Diaz came on to save a 2-1 victory Wednesday. Great moment. Trumpet says he’ll return for the World Series.
▪ Took in James Taylor at the sparkling MGM Music Hall at Fenway Monday. JT was in great voice and played his Red Sox anthem, “Angels Of Fenway.” Son Henry Taylor was part of his dad’s All-Star Band and wore a Ted Williams No. 9 T-shirt.
▪ Washington Spirit Trinity Rodman, daughter of You Know Who, is the National Women’s Soccer League’s highest-paid player with a four-year, $1.1 million deal.
▪ There’s still time to sponsor a team for ABCD’s Hoop Dreams event, which will give you a chance to play on the TD Garden parquet for a great cause. The event is Sept. 21 and you can register by calling Liz McCarthy at 617-620-6949 or going online to abcdhoopdreams.org.
▪ Are we all still getting free furniture if the Red Sox sweep the World Series?
▪ Quiz answer: Tampa Bay Rays, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets.