Boston Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom was the guest speaker at the Jordan Boys and Girls Club Breakfast Series Monday at the club.
Bloom’s appearance drew a very large crowd, affirming the popularity of the historic American League baseball franchise in the region.
JGBC Breakfast Chair Mark Robinson introduced Bloom, a 36-year-old graduate of Yale University who was previously the senior vice president of baseball operations for the Tampa Bay Rays. Despite being a small-market team, the Rays were quite successful under Bloom’s administration, winning 96 games and advancing to the playoffs in 2019.
Bloom spoke about his new position with the Sox before entertaining questions from the audience.
“I knew from the outside that this [Boston Red Sox] was a wonderful organization,” said Bloom. “I basically spent the last 15 years of my life trying to destroy the Boston Red Sox with varying degrees of success over that time. I also knew the quality of people in the organization was very high. The reason the Red Sox have been so successful over the past two decades are the great people in the organization and the culture. It’s really true that it is a family.”
Bloom said it has been a challenging time with the recent departure of manager Alex Cora due to his involvement in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing issue.
“I think the way this was handled was true to the family spirit of the organization,” said Bloom. “We will get through this and find the best way to go forward and come out of this stronger – eventually.”
Early in the question-and-answer session, Bloom was asked about Red Sox star Mookie Betts’ future in the organization, with the questioner mentioning a possible contract of $421 million (presumably for 10 years).
“I thought that was going to be the first question,” Bloom said with a smile. “There’s a lot on this topic that I’m not going to be able to discuss for a number of reasons including that I think anything, whether a contract question or a trade question – it’s not fair to anybody, including our players, to talk about that publicly.
“I know how good Mookie is and how highly people in the organization think of him,” said Bloom.
Chamber of Commerce President Joseph Mahoney asked whether new advances in technology such as the larger screen televisions and a wider range of entertainment opportunities for people might result in a decrease in the demand for tickets to baseball games, even at historic Fenway Park.
“I will say this, to the extent that becomes an issue, we will probably have an advantage because Fenway Park is a singular baseball experience,” said Bloom. “There’s almost no place like it in baseball. It’s pretty special. It is a great, great game to watch in person.”
Red Sox Chief Marketing Officer Adam Grossman, who attended the breakfast, also replied to the question.
“Fenway Park is an enormous asset, probably our most coveted asset, the most important asset over the last several decades,” said Grossman. “We do still believe that communal places are important even in the younger generation. This year, we’re going to have 50 different theme-nights which 20 years ago we didn’t. We have 15 giveaway nights – 20 years ago we didn’t.
“Our eyes are definitely open,” continued Grossman, adding that the organization is building a new music hall adjacent to the ballpark.
Bloom was asked what he loves the most about being involved in professional baseball.
“For me, I think it is something where you have a chance to work together with people to accomplish something great – baseball is something that a lot of people care about, so it feels big enough that it matters,” said Bloom. “But it is also on a scale of things small enough so that you feel you can really have a distinct impact that you can feel. That, for me, has always been, from a work standpoint, where I get the most energy – working with people to do something great.”
Bloom impressed everyone in the hall with his knowledge of baseball and his gracious manner answering directly each question posed by the guests. “The Red Sox appear to be in great hands with [Chaim Bloom] at the helm of the baseball operations,” said Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson. “He [Bloom] was very impressive in his presentation. It was a delight to hear him talk baseball in the middle of winter. I can’t wait for spring training to start.”