David Bell named new Reds manager

David Bell
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The Reds have officially named David Bell as the new club manager for the 2019 season, according to a team announcement on Sunday. Bell signed a three-year contract with the organization and is slated to remain on staff through the 2021 season with a club option for 2022. A press conference will be held on Monday at 11:00 AM EDT to introduce the new skipper.

Bell, 46, beat out a slew of candidates that included former MLB managers Joe Girardi, Brad Ausmus, John Farrell and MLB coaches Hensley Meulens, Charlie Montoyo, Rocco Baldelli, Freddie Benavides, Billy Hatcher, Tom Prince, Tom Princes, and Pat Kelly. Following last week’s news that Girardi had voluntarily withdrawn from consideration, Bell appeared to be the clear frontrunner for the position.

Though Bell was also reportedly considered for managerial vacancies in the Blue Jays and Rangers’ orgs, Cincinnati presented more of a natural fit for the former third baseman. Not only was he born and raised in the city, but his grandfather, Gus, and father, Buddy, had each spent significant parts of their major-league careers with the Reds. Buddy currently serves as the Reds’ vice president and senior advisor to general manager Nick Krall.

Bell never played for the Reds during his 12-year career in MLB, but he later served as Double-A and Triple-A manager of their minor league affiliates from 2008-2012, when he racked up a 227-332 record with the teams. He later took back-to-back gigs as a third base coach and assistant hitting coach/bench coach for the Cubs and Cardinals, respectively, and spent his 2018 season in the Giants’ front office as VP of player development. He’ll replace interim manager Jim Riggleman, who was named to the position following Bryan Price’s dismissal in April.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.