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.
The Reds introduce Cincinnati native David Bell as the club’s new field manager. https://t.co/In2GU3800B
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) October 22, 2018
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.