By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer
SAN FRANCISCO - Up in the upper deck, Buddy Bell didn't feel glee or pride when his son, David, lined a drive that skipped off the infield and into center field for the game-winning hit.
No, it was more basic emotion.
"Relief," Buddy said. "My dad always told me that the toughest thing is to watch your sons play sports.
"Playing is much easier."
David's single, which lifted the San Francisco Giants to a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Angels in Game 4 on Wednesday, was probably the biggest hit by a Bell. That's saying something, considering the Bells are a three-generation major-league family.
Bell strokes his game-winning hit.
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Buddy never made it to the World Series in his 18 years as a big leaguer. Buddy's father, the late Reds Hall of Famer Gus, played in the 1961 Series, but he went 0-for-3 in three pinch-hit appearances.
David knows his family history well, and enough about baseball to know his dad's lack of postseason history has nothing to do with his ability.
"He had a lot of great things happen in his career," David said. "Unfortunately, he didn't get the opportunity."
Buddy, likewise, isn't jealous of son.
"I don't have any regrets about my career," Buddy said. "I never took a game or an at-bat off. I played the game as hard as I could. I have no regrets.
"But ... it is great to watch your son play in the Series."
Buddy, who was fired as the Colorado Rockies' manager during the season, is working for the Cleveland Indians.
"I don't really have a title," Bell said. "But I really like it. (General manager) Mark Shapiro is a great guy to work for."
As for managing, he said: "I'd like to again. But I don't have to. If I get the right situation, I will. I'll look into it a little more than I did the last time.
Bell said, despite the stakes, watching Wednesday night's game wasn't much different than anytime he watches one of his sons play. He wants David or Mike or Ricky to do well so badly that it makes it difficult to watch.
"You know how hard they've worked," Buddy said. "If they didn't, they wouldn't be there. You know how much it means to them."
Buddy also has an idea of how difficult David's situation was Wednesday. David was facing Francisco Rodriguez, the best pitcher on the planet for the last month.
"Oh yeah, I know," Buddy said.
David was also carrying an extra burden. Two innings earlier, he had been thrown out - on a great play by Garret Anderson - trying to stretch a single into a double.
"I was over-aggressive there," David said. "It would have better if I had stopped. We needed a runner there. He made a good play. It was my mistake."
"I'm glad it didn't cost us."
It didn't because Bell redeemed himself against Rodriguez, who had retired the first 12 batters he faced in the Series before giving up a leadoff single to J.T. Snow. Snow moved to second on a passed ball.
That gave Bell the chance to do what every kid dreams about: Get the game-winning hit in the World Series.
"A lot of people wonder what it would be like," Bell said. "But you get in the game, you kind of block it out. You're trying to do your job and concentrate on that."
Bell wasn't looking for a particular pitch.
"I was just trying to react," he said.
It was a fastball. Bell stayed with it and drove up the middle for the game-winner.
Up in the upper deck, Buddy, his sons Mike and Rick, and daughter Traci were celebrating. Buddy's wife, Gloria, was in the good seats with David's wife, Kristi.
"I've got to be able to walk around," he said. "It's too hard to sit there and watch."
The postseason has been a traveling reunion for the Bells.
"The World Series is great," Buddy said. "But getting us all together has been what's really nice. It's the first time we've all been together since Christmas. It's been a lot of fun."
The newest member of the Bell clan, Mike's 2-year-old son Luke, has been along.
So can we expect to see a fourth-generation Bell in the big leagues?
"No, I think we're going to try to get him to play golf or something," Buddy said.
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