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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Rays’ Influence Continues in Playoffs Despite Their Elimination

Bloom’s Red Sox won the best-of-five series in four games. It was a sign of just how deeply the Rays’ style has now taken root across MLB. (Consider that the other ALDS featured an Astros team helmed by their former Tampa Bay coworker James Click, while their old boss, Andrew Friedman, was once again leading his reigning champion Dodgers in the NLDS.) It was also, from a personal standpoint, a bit weird.

“Erik’s like my brother,” Bloom said. “We grew up together in this game. We’re extremely close.”

Until recently, their careers took paths that made them look like not just brothers, but twins. They’re the same age, 38, born less than three months apart. Both men started with the Rays as interns—Bloom in 2005 and Neander in 2007. They worked their way up the ranks together, and by 2012, both had the title of director of baseball operations. In 2014, after Friedman decamped for L.A., the two were promoted on the same day to become joint vice presidents of baseball ops. But after the 2016 season, their roads began to diverge ever so slightly: Bloom became senior vice president of baseball operations while Neander became senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager. (The story of their careers is, as much as anything, a snapshot of the myriad expanded titles that have evolved in the game over the last decade.) Neander has since switched out the “general manager” part of his title for “president of baseball operations” and signed a multiyear extension. Bloom, meanwhile, left to become the chief baseball officer of the Red Sox in 2019.

Which landed them in that quiet moment together a few hours before Game 1 in St. Petersburg. They caught up. They snapped a picture together. And then they went their separate ways for what became a roller coaster of a series.

“We both want to win,” Neander said. “But we both have plenty of appreciation, as friends, for the roles we’re in. It’s pretty cool.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 13, 2021 at 02:10 PM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rays

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