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Local boy takes over

February 6, 2019
Columnist Christian Deiss is pictured with Reds Manager David Bell.

There’s a new manager in the Cincinnati Reds dugout this season, but the new head of the National League Central Division club is a familiar face to baseball fans in the charm city. David Bell, who grew up watching his father play for the Reds, was named the club’s new manager, not long after the conclusion of the 2018 season.

Each season, the Reds conduct team caravans throughout areas that have a Reds following and one of those stops last month was at Huntington Mall in Barboursville.

Before Bell met with the hundreds of Reds fans waiting to meet the skipper of the ballclub, the 46-year-old former major leaguer told me his new position was a dream come true.

“Having an opportunity to manage a major league team is special in itself, so much goes into that, but to be able to do that in your hometown, where I grew up, it just means that much more.”

Bell is the grandson of Gus Bell and son of Buddy Bell, both former major leagues and both are former Cincinnati Reds.

Bell became the Reds’ 63rd manager in franchise history

on Oct. 21, 2018, after a one-year stint as the vice president of player development for the San Francisco Giants. I wanted to know how quick he started to reach out to the players, “Actually that has been my favorite part of the job, the time I have been able to spend with the players and start to build relationships with them and support them. I want to start to challenge them to be the best they can be, as a person and as a player.”

Bell made his major league debut on May 3, 1995 for the Cleveland Indians; his playing career came to an end on Oct. 1, 2006, as a member of the Milwaukee Braves.

While any new manager taking over a ball club does their research on all of his new players, I found out that the players do the same thing. Joining Bell on the caravan was Reds rightfielder Jesse Winker, who wanted to know more about his new leader.

“The Bells have a historic baseball background, so you really don’t have to look too far to read about his dad and his grandfather and of course David’s career as well. I am looking forward to learning from David and being with him on the caravan has helped getting to know him even more. It’s going be fun.” Winker batted .299 for the Reds in 2018.

The first-year manager was known for his all out play during his major league career for six different ball clubs. Bell explained to me that by challenging each player to do their best, he believes that creates a positive comfort zone, “Having an environment that gives players a chance to challenge themselves helps them understand that my expectations are high, but they realize I am here to help them get to the point where they want to be.”

Bell, whose brother Mike is also a former major-leaguer, is a member of one of five families to have three generations to play in the big leagues.

Coaching third base for the Reds this season is Nitro, West Virginia, native J.R. House. Bell said House brings a lot to the club, “He is very enthusiastic, really hard worker, competitive. I think he has the best personality to coach third base. I’m just glad he accepted my offer.” House will also serve as Bell’s Spring Training coordinator that starts later this month.

It’s going to be fun to follow the Reds this year, with Bell as the manager.

I feel good things are going to happen if the players follow his lead.

Christian Deiss, of Winfield, is a freshman at Hurricane High School.

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