From David Bell’s introductory press conference [video link] and a few one-on-one interviews afterward shown on FSO:

The local media (FSO) and ownership have their narrative about a local boy coming home. Bell’s introduction included describing Bell a “real Reds hire,” a “Cincinnati native,” a “Cincinnati guy,” his “family ties” to father and front office consultant Buddy Bell, and from owner Bob Castellini: “from the Cincinnati family.” Bell himself talked about “coming home.”

The two words most used by others to describe Bell were “smart” and “tough.” 

Dick Williams said they had a list of 20 criteria for the new manager, but the “single most important trait” was whether the manager “could use all available tools at our collective disposal to maximize the performance and value of each player as an individual, while also maximizing the performance of the team as a unit.”

Williams said they started with 90 names on a candidates list, and have been vetting since April. Said they interviewed “more than a dozen.” 

Williams said that hiring a manager was “one of many steps” the organization needs to take. He pointed to “significant investments” in scouting, player development, farm system, success in trades, waiver claims, free agent signings, team-friendly extensions. But “we recognize all of that is not enough” must “translate all this to success on major league field.” Said Reds fans “have been patient” but front office does not “take that for granted.”

Bell said he thought he was ready ten years ago to manage a big league team when he was managing in the minor leagues, but didn’t realize then how much he didn’t know. Has “learned so much” in the past 10 years.

Bell stressed the importance of bringing the entire organization “in alignment,” which he learned this year working as VP of Player Development for the Giants, managing 300 players and 80 staff. 

The word David Bell used the most was “preparation” in the sense that he expects players to be prepared and the central focus of the organization and coaching staff working together was to get “information” to the players so they could be prepared. 

When Jim Day asked Bell about analytics: Bell said he’s open minded, says you have to use all information and resources out there to make the best decision

Bell seemed to gently push back against characterizations that he will be tough on players. He talked about dealing with players “as people” and that he cares about the players. Says players have to be encouraged to do everything they can to be prepared and that they need “individualized” plans. 

Dick Williams, asked about hiring a first-time manager: Managers used be out there “on an island,” so having experience was important. Now managers have huge support from the front office so first-time managers can do it. Williams pointed to how many teams in postseason have first-time managers. 

Bell said several times that he was excited to get started, “I wish we were playing tonight.” 

Bell said they would start working on the coaching staff today and that it would be a collaborative effort, like he expected all their decisions to be.

Overall, a classy press conference. One bit of unsolicited advice: Ditch the tradition of having the new manager put on the team’s uniform and hat. People shouldn’t speak at formal occasions, where others are dressed in suits and ties, with a baseball hat on. Basic communication theory in Western societies: don’t block eye contact, something that often happens when hat bills get in the way. 

Much more on the Bell hire to follow. 

16 Responses

  1. Eric

    Yeah, the jersey-and-hat deal was awkward, at best…although I was glad to see him wearing #25. When he retires, hopefully after a string of awesome seasons, it’d be great to see the number retired in the name of the entire Bell family.

    That said, this looks like a guy that the Reds would have considered, “local kid” or not.

    And now…we wait. For pitchers. And the coaching staff. And pitchers. And the rising draft picks.

    And pitchers.

    • David

      I personally hope they keep Bobby Darwin, but who knows?

      • Tom Mitsoff

        I hope Bell is given the opportunity to bring in coaches he knows who have excellent teaching skills. I suspect it will be a mixture of new coaches Bell knows and holdover coaches who the ownership likes and would like to retain.

  2. Redgoggles

    I want to be excited, but I was measurably optimistic with Price as well thinking he would be able to help develop our young pitching prospects. I’m less optimistic now, it mostly depends on the players that the front office gives him to compete with. He does have a better chance, since we are (please??!?) further along in the rebuild.

  3. Tom Mitsoff

    That’s as it should be. I’m optimistic about Bell’s comment about bringing the organization into alignment, but that’s not on him. It’s on people above him, so they will have to make it so. To date, they have not.

  4. David

    I think the one thing that is praiseworthy is getting the on field management and the Front Office on the same page as to how the team progresses, and the players are utilized. I don’t want any more gritty veteran signings. That’s wrong.

    Play the kids, now. Prepare for the future by playing the young talent in the farm system.
    I am not excited, but hopeful that the Reds FO and Field manager will work together.
    Dusty never really worked with Walt (Aroldis used as a closer), and Price certainly did not work with either Walt or Williams very closely.
    Castellini can talk as much as he wants in public, but let the team be run by the professionals.

    If you look up Walt Jocketty on Wikipedia, he had a great run as a GM from 2000 – 2013, with the Cardinals and Reds. Of course, Castellini knows this. But personnel management has turned a page, and what Jocketty did in that era, that was just a few years ago, just doesn’t quite work anymore.
    He did trade away a lot of good Cardinal farmhands to get talent to stay competitive, and always had Pujols in the middle of the lineup for most of those Cardinal years. He did the same, to a degree, with the Reds, and look at the desert we are in now.

  5. David

    A compromise hire between the factions of the Reds. Something to satisfy everybody, just a little. They should not be this divided in their ideas and goals, which also does not augur well for the future.
    But maybe the horse will learn to sing.

  6. David

    Yeah, I can just hear George Grande going on about knowing how to play the game….the right way.

    Skip Schumaker. Well, whatever.

  7. Jeff Reed

    Not only Skip at 3rd. base but perhaps Mike Matheny as the bench coach. Keeping the ‘Cardinal Way’ out of Cincinnati is never easy.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      If the Reds could actually learn how to implement the Cardinal Way it might be a good thing since St. Louis is consistently in contention and the Reds are consistently losing 90 games a season.

  8. Jeff Reed

    Price never really recovered from the ‘F’ bomb outburst, not to mention the start of the 2018 season.

  9. Mike Adams

    Somebody talk me away from the edge of the cliff, please.

    Is it just me or does anyone else think that fourth paragraph sounds like the Reds will for the most part stay pat and play with who they got?

    Did Price and Riggleman fail on maximizing each player’s and the team’s performance?
    A free agent here, a trade there, bringing up a youngster from the minors: these things will not bring success to the Reds.
    Bell might do better than Price and Riggleman but I don’t see more than a few wins possible.

    The Reds must improve starting pitching a lot, power bats some and defense some.

    The Reds can’t outspend other clubs so they must be super smart, efficient and INNOVATIVE. This applies to owners, the front office, manager, coaches and players.

    • David

      They have to be more systemic and logical (and accurate) in the evaluation of the talent they have, and what the ceiling of their young players actually is. Other teams seem to be able to do this, why can’t Cincinnati?
      People have eschewed “The Cardinal Way”, but would the present Cardinal management tolerate a CF that hits 0.230 with no power and a < 0.300 OBP?

    • Mike Adams

      Okay, thanks. I will step away from the edge and look forward to other moves to make the Reds competitive again.

  10. David

    (1) Yes
    (2) Yes (shudder)
    (3) Yes, of course.

    The Reds are where they are because of Bob Castellini. He is the owner and ultimately responsible. He wants to be involved, and so he should shoulder what has happened.