IRONTON Buddy Bell and his wife didn’t get to watch the Reds’ game with the Pirates on Tuesday night — and everything that went along with it — live. They weren’t about to miss Wednesday’s matinee.
No, not that Buddy Bell, father of Cincinnati manager David Bell. This is the Buddy Bell who coached Ironton’s boys basketball team in the 1970s.
The Bells are Dish Network subscribers, and Dish no longer carries Fox Sports Ohio as of Friday in a dispute over fees, so they went to an Ironton sports bar and restaurant on Wednesday afternoon to take in the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh series finale.
Because they didn’t see Tuesday night’s game, the Bells didn’t see live the brawl sparked when Reds reliever Amir Garrett charged the Pirates dugout in the ninth inning of Pittsburgh’s 11-4 victory.
The lifelong Reds fans did, however, see replays of it, and both had strong opinions about it.
“Just disgraceful,” said Mrs. Bell, as she asked to be identified.
“Garrett had no business going over there,” Buddy Bell added. “He was upset because the guy hit a home run,” referring to the dinger Garrett yielded to the Pirates’ Jose Osuna two batters before he was removed from the game and then took off for the Pittsburgh bench.
For Bell, that added to the season-long frustration of his coaching sensibilities with David Bell, mainly over what he sees as the Reds’ poor grasp of fundamental play.
“I’ve said all year they’ve got the worst manager in Major League Baseball,” Bell said of, well, Bell. “He didn’t have control of the problems.
“You can’t name one time that Bell has advanced the runner to help the offense. They don’t hit the cutoff man from the outfield. They throw the ball anywhere. ... To me, they’re just not prepared mentally to play.”
Justin Collier didn’t see Tuesday’s events the same way. The bearded man of a younger generation than the Bells also made sure he stopped in to watch some of the game during his lunch break from work.
A Reds-Pirates feud has been bubbling up since at least April 7. Benches cleared that afternoon in Pittsburgh after Cincinnati’s Derek Dietrich lingered in the batter’s box to watch a monster home run he hit off the Pirates’ Chris Archer, and Archer retaliated by throwing behind Dietrich the next time he came up to bat.
Pittsburgh’s Keone Kela re-ignited the situation Tuesday by pitching high and inside to Dietrich in what he later said was retaliation for Dietrich’s previous actions.
Collier liked that Cincinnati finally did something about it.
“I like that (Garrett) was tired of it and he went forth,” Collier said. “He went into a dugout by himself. I like that. I liked the drive with the team all backing him up. And then at the end he kinda had modest things to say about it.”
(Garrett said this after the game, as reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer: “I don't condone what I did. It's not in the game for something like that to happen. Sometimes, you let emotions get the best of you. ... I don't like for kids to see that.")
It was, if nothing else, another strange turn in a Reds season that hasn’t included as much winning as fans might have hoped for in March. Collier is hopeful the skirmish will spark Cincinnati.
“I think the season is better,” Collier said. “I think that shows heart, it shows passion, and I liked it, to be honest.”
Reach ZACK KLEMME at (606) 326-2658 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @zklemmeADI on Twitter.