Mack: David Bell Is Delusional, Desperate, Or Just Plain Dumb

Reds' Manager's Claims Could Create Dangerous Situation

Chris Mack
May 30, 2019 - 9:20 am

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan - The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds have already filled their first 10 games against one another in 2019 with enough drama for a full season. 

Reds' Manager David Bell threw a big, fat, stupid cherry on top of the rivalry's beanball sundae Wednesday afternoon though, when he insisted that Bucco reliever Clay Holmes intentionally hit Cincinnati's third baseman - and best player - Eugenio Suarez with the first pitch of the bottom of the 8th inning.

Related: Josh Bell Homers Again, Pirates Beat Reds 7-2 For Split

Let's first dispense logic, since Bell seems to be in serious need of some:

Holmes has walked 44 hitters in his last 55 1/3 professional innings. He's Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn without the fastball, motorcycle, and glasses. It's entirely believable - nay, likely - that Holmes simply lost control and hit Suarez.

Nevermind the fact that if the Pirates had a desire to hit anyone at all, it would've been Derek Dietrich, whose thin skin regarding a year old Chris Archer strikeout celebration was the catalyst for extracurricular activities between the two teams at PNC Park in April. Dietrich again stood at home plate admiring a home run on Monday night like he'd just painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. So while it would have made much more sense for the Pirates to exact some sort of "revenge" on Dietrich at some other point in the previous 36 hours, perhaps it would still adhere to the mysterious unwritten rules of baseball to wait for a rout and a meaningless late-game plate appearance to extract their pound of flesh.

If that were the case, they could have simply waited for Dietrich to come to the plate in the 8th, or at the latest, as the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the 9th.

Why on earth would they throw at Suarez? If you're David Bell, or anyone else who believes his cockamamie theory, it's quite simple: You're delusional.

However Bell has managed to navigate his way to a skipper's role in the highest level of professional baseball, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he can't possibly be that deluded.

What he can be - or more than likely will be as long as his team is languishing in the N.L. Central basement despite making a few big offseason moves - is desperate.

Desperate to get fans fired up in a town where attendance is only 2,000 more per game than the Pirates. Desperate to keep the guys in the clubhouse behind him, and to show he "has their back." Desperate to prove he's not a one-and-done manager and is actually worthy of the three year deal the Reds gave him this past fall.

It's the only reasonable explanation for Bell acting like a damn fool on Wednesday afternoon. A desperate man will resort to desperate measures.

Delusional or desperate though, what Bell has set up for the final nine meetings between these two teams this year is just plain dumb, as it endangers the health of ball players on both teams, something he claimed to be concerned with during the very same postgame rant that made him look even more foolish than his in-game tantrum.

"Clearly we’re not going to get protected," Bell said. "So we’ve got to do whatever we can. We’ve got to take matters into our own hands.”

Wonderful. Now for the rest of the season, and as long as Bell is desperately pushing forward his delusions, we'll get to wonder, every time a member of the Pirates comes to the plate, if a Reds pitcher wants to be the guy who "protects" his teammates by "taking matters into (his) own hands." And every Pittsburgh pitcher looking to work the inside edge of the plate will get to wonder about the consequences if a ball clips a Cincinnati batter. 

What if, for example Jameson Taillon in one of his first few starts back, comes in on Dietrich, or Suarez, or anyone else, and hits him? And the aggrieved party decides to charge the mound? What if someone gets hurt in that scrap? And then what if the Reds decide to retaliate and hit... oh, I don't know... Josh Bell?

David Bell could have taken Holmes hitting Suarez for what it was and diffused some of the tension that's existed in this rivalry for the past six weeks, the past eight years, the past four-and-a-half decades, or however long a person's association with Pirates/Reds may go back.

Instead, he's actually escalated the situation and more-or-less encouraged his players to throw at the opposition. 

How dumb is that?

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