The target of so much criticism since taking the job prior to the 2019 season, David Bell hasn’t exactly gotten much of the fanbase on his side even after taking the Cincinnati Reds to their first winning record in a season (granted, just a 60-game season) and the playoffs since the 2013 season. On Thursday afternoon his team set playoff records in futility, being shut out for all 22 innings of the series. It wasn’t for a lack of chances in game one, but in game two the opportunities rarely arrived as the team had just two hits and walked just twice.
It wasn’t the ending anyone wanted to see (well, except the Atlanta Braves, of course). But after the game ended and the season, David Bell had some nice things to say about the season and his team, while also acknowledging some of the issues the team ran into during the 2020 season.
On the loss and the season ending
“No one feels like our guys in the clubhouse, it’s not a good feeling. It’s a bad feeling,” said Bell. “There’s no real words to make you feel better when you compete all year, you battle, you work year round, you put everything you have into it and you lose. There’s no good way to feel about that. But the one thing is you can only feel this bad when you’re the guys on the field and have done everything you can and competed and done all of the work. Nothing else can make you feel that bad on the baseball field, so there’s some honor in that. And we were able to have some success, taste some real success, and when we get to take a step back and reflect on a season, there’s no doubt that moving forward, knowing that feeling, knowing what it takes, the amount of effort, teamwork, care, tasting that success if going to go a long way moving forward. It’s difficult to have that perspective right now, but I think once we get some time we’ll look back and know that going to be very helpful looking forward.”
On the offensive struggles for most of the season
“You know, what I’m thinking about right now is how I’ve never been around a group of hitters and players that worked and did everything in their power to find a way to break through. And that’s not an excuse, it’s just a fact.,” Bell said. “And do we need to continue to make adjustments and look at everything? That goes without saying. You’re always looking to do that. That’s the way this game works. But for today, like I said, no one feels worse than the guys that put everything they had on the line and it didn’t work out. So we’ll learn from it and find a way to be better from it.”
On the home run or nothing, and pinpointing why that was
“I think number one, we emphasize strikezone discipline. We were able to walk quite a bit, more than we singled, which is amazing And we did hit for power. Those are both good things,” said Bell. “Where we came up short, to your point, is stringing together hits at times during the season. You can look at the defensive positioning, you can look at hard hit balls that didn’t go for hits – but it’s something we’ve got to take a closer look at because all teams are really good at defensive positioning and can hit into bad luck at times. So why did that happen with us? We just have to really take a close look at it. We did all year. Yeah, I say and I do absolutely believe in our guys, we made adjustments as much as we possibly could – but we have to find a way to get better.”
On whether the team met expectations
“Well, we got to the post season, and when your goal is to win the championship, I think we can look at the last two days. As for the season – we got on a pretty good roll, we had everything working well together,” said Bell. “It started about a month-and-a-half into the season. Who knows what would have happened in a long season? Our team was playing with a tremendous amount of confidence. We were doing everything it took to win games. Our offense, like you guys have mentioned, still wasn’t clicking all the way. Yes, we’re dealing with this season, the shorter season, and that’s what we had this year. We accomplished our goal of getting to the post season, and we knew we had to beat the best teams. And we played one of them here, and we weren’t able to do that.”
You can watch and listen to the entire post game press conference below for a little more from manager David Bell following the loss on Thursday.