Josh Bell

Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Dunlap: Bell's Star Is What's Most Important

July 08, 2019 - 1:40 pm

Related: Josh Bell To Start In All-Star Game

We will root. 

You might stand and yell. You might urge a ball to stay fair. You might do your best Chris Berman (it will be better than his, of course) and shout "back, back, back, back ..." 

Heck, you might just sit silently and smile a bit or go down to the bar and watch with your pals.  

But over the next couple of days you will take notice. You will most likely pay attention. Almost certainly your eyes will be trained to the north and west on Cleveland, Ohio. 

I don't know --- no one does --- what the results will be as Josh Bell takes part in the Home Run Derby on Monday night and then serves as the designated hitter and bats sixth for the National League in the All Star Game on Tuesday night. But that's the whole crux of this matter: Don't get caught up in the results. Please don't. That isn't important when you look at the whole situation. Don't measure this whole thing on if baseballs off Bell's bat fly over the wall or not. 

It ain't about that right now. 

Would it be nice if he had a prodigious showing in the homer fest or the subsequent game? Yeah, sure. No question at all. 

It would make us all feel a sense of pride I would guess. 

But remember this is all gravy. This is all bonus stuff. 

Here's the real story: Pittsburgh has found its new baseball face. The Pirates have found their new poster man. The black and gold have their recognizability quotient back in Bell. 

And he will be on display in front of the entire baseball-watching world. 

Remember that as you watch; understand that as he swings --- whether those swings end in a big boom or bust over the next couple of days. 

See, this is the face of the franchise the Pirates have been seeking mightily since Andrew McCutchen was shuttled from our town (rightly so) in a trade. Since then, baseball fans have been looking and wanting to rest their allegiances on a guy who would produce, but also one they could trust. One they could trust to do the right thing on and off the field, one who isn't caught up in nonsense and one who --- if your kid wanted --- you could run down to the store and buy his jersey. 

Bell's that guy. After a disappointing 2018 and just half a season in 2019, I'm firmly convinced he is that guy. 

That's what I will think about as I watch the derby and All Star Game. Would a big-time showing be something to celebrate? Naturally, yes. 

But from Topeka to Tampa and from Boston to Baskersfield, it feels as if just a glimpse from baseball fans at the guy in the '55' Pirates jersey yields they immediately know who it is ---- it is Josh Bell. 

That noticeability is what's most important. 


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