Red Sox

MLB Notebook: Countering false early-season narratives; Ranking the best and worst of MLB ballparks

(Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox via Getty Images)

We're all a little guilty of occasionally overreacting to a handful of games. In case any of us forgot, that was on display earlier this week when the Red Sox were run over by the Baltimore Orioles -- never mistaken for the 1927 Yankees -- in the first series of the year.

You could almost picture the line of fans queueing up to leap from the Tobin in despair. Fortunately, some held off long enough to witness the reversal of fortune that followed, resulting in a euphoria that led to some Duckboat Parade planning for later this fall.

Along the way, a few harebrained theories began dotting the local sports media landscape. None, you'll be shocked to learn, had any sort of relationship to reality or rational thought. But, oh well.

Here are three misguided early-season (to be fair, some have been around for a while) conspiracy theories that just down hold up under closer inspection:

• The Red Sox hired Chaim Bloom because they intend to eventually have a Tampa Bay-sized payroll.

This one should be easily dismissed out of hand when you start to consider Red Sox ownership, who are as PR-conscious as any group of owners Boston has seen. Surely, they understand that drastically cutting payroll to this degree would result in the immediate arrival of pitchforks and torches on Jersey Street. That would never, ever fly with the local fan base and the owners know it.

This ownership has been in town for almost two decades, and in that time, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts (compiled by Baseball Prospectus) has been outside the Top 5 in Opening Day payrolls twice: in 2003, when they were sixth and again this year, when they were ranked eighth.  When you rank payroll size as measured for the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) for the 40-man roster, they jump to fifth this year.

So, yes, the Sox are in the middle of.....call it what you will: rebuilding, bridge year, etc., and the spending has been reined in, starting, of course, with the ill-advised trade last year that sent Mookie Betts to the Dodgers. But that's part of a strategy to re-set their CBT rate and build the roster back up. If they're still at this level at the start of next season, then fire away because they'll deserve any criticism directed their way.

But nearly 20 years has taught us that while they sometimes spend foolishly and are guilty of not making themselves available when things go wrong, they are not, by any evidence, cheap.

Determining that the Sox are aiming to go low-budget because they hired a smart well-respected executive from the small-market Rays makes about as much sense as suggesting the Los Angeles Dodgers were aiming for the same when they hired Bloom's one-time mentor, Andrew Friedman.

You may remember Friedman as the guy who handed out the second-biggest contract in the history of the game last year -- to Betts. And, as the guy who has presided over a $200 million or more payroll in five of his first seven seasons.

• The Red Sox are being run -- and ruined -- by nerds.