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By Conrad Clowers

Herald Sports Writer

David Bell. Cincinnati Reds photo

For those who don’t know Baseball is a marathon. A long one. It’s not a sprint. The flag has been dropped and the 2021 season is underway. Uncharacteristically, the Reds have gotten off to one of the hottest starts in MLB. The team is currently 6-3 and in the midst of its first West Coast road trip.

David Bell is going into his third season as Reds manager. Will there be a fourth? Only time will tell. Like anyone who has to prove themselves, Bell will have to convince the Castellinis and the Kralls he’s worthy of a second contract.

Cincinnati spent a considerable amount of money upgrading the team going into the 2020 season. The upgrade got the team a post season bid with a two-game- and done playoff series. Coming into the 2021 season, Bell has established a managerial record of 106-116.

This year’s Reds team has showcased new stars with a lot of upside and potential. Tyler Naquin and Johnathan India have come out of nowhere to bolster an early season surge. India is hitting .379, while Naquin has 5 home runs and 14 RBI’s in nine games.

During this offseason, Cincinnati opted to dump salary, as opposed to gain big new impactful players. With the pandemic of 2020, the team lost millions in revenue. Whether not gaining big name acquisitions will hurt or help Cincinnati remains to be seen. For now Bell seems to be making veteran managerial moves and seems to have settled into being somewhat more passive than in 2019 when he was a rookie manager. In ’19 Bell was kicked out of a record seven games.

When David Bell signed on to be Reds manager, he signed a 3-year contract with an option for a fourth. Traditionally, when players, coaches or managers are in the final year of their contract, spectacular things happen. Players have career years. Managers and coaches who have never won all of a sudden find out how to win. Amazing things happen when your back is to the unemployment wall. Bell has already solved the first step of the success puzzle. Get off to a great start. This is something he was unable to do in his first two seasons as manager. The second part will be somehow managing to stay consistent.

The team currently has a one-game lead on the Cardinals and Brewers. It may be way to early in the season to be paying attention to the standing but, wow!. First place at any point of the season sure can be nice.

At the end of the day, it’s not where you start. It will be where you finish. Nobody knows that better than Bell. Not finishing in a favorable National League Central position could finish him as manager of the Reds.

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