Get to know new Guardians 1B Josh Bell

March 5th, 2023

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Guardians never had a concern about how would mesh with the rest of the clubhouse.

The moment the signing was announced over the winter, Guardians manager Terry Francona’s phone started blowing up with positive reviews about Bell from his colleagues.

“I told him I was sick of it,” Francona joked. “I just had too many people that I know that I respect that reached out and said, ‘This guy is what you’re looking for.’ That’s a good feeling.”

So far, it’s been a perfect fit. Since Spring Training began, he’s been reserved, yet seamlessly involved in clubhouse conversations as if he’s known his teammates for more than this three-week span. In batting practice, he’s extremely focused on his mechanics, often spending his time off to the side, against the backstop, going through drills to practice keeping his hands inside the ball.

Those around him often note that he’s quiet, but then layer on compliments. As Cleveland fans start to get to know him, tried to make that introduction a little easier by asking him a few get-to-know-you questions before Sunday's 6-4 loss to the D-backs at Goodyear Ballpark: What’s your favorite road ballpark?
Bell: “I always like going to Wrigley. I always like going to Fenway. [Oracle Park] is pretty cool. The Athletics Stadium -- the Coliseum -- is the only one I haven’t played in. I’ve heard like not the best things about it, but I’m actually really pumped to start the season there. I can’t pinpoint one, though.” You’re known for your involvement in the community. Where does that come from?
Bell: “I think it started in high school. I went to a private Catholic school and we had to get so many [community service] hours every year. ... I remember there was a private school in the middle of South Dallas, and I would go every Wednesday and help out this second grade teacher with the class. That was empowering to me. It kind of put everything in perspective, just giving back to the youth, pouring into the younger generations and stuff like that. I kind of took that into pro ball and always had opportunities with the Pirates to give back to the community with [Roberto] Clemente and all that history. So, it started there and kind of kept up with it.” Do you have a favorite moment from your charitable experiences?
Bell: “If I had to pinpoint one, there was a point in Altoona, Double-A, there was a special needs horseback riding event. It was the first time I’d ever been close to a horse. I had been around special needs kids, but I was terrified during the whole thing. I was like, 'All of this could go so wrong so quickly.' And it was the most beautiful experience that I’ve ever been a part of. The kids had an absolute blast. They had done it before, so they were teaching us. The whole time we were panicking and they were like, 'No, calm down, we got this.' … I remember driving back to the field afterwards like, 'Wow, that was super empowering.'” What’s your favorite baseball memory?
Bell: “My callup weekend was pretty sick. My first couple at-bats in the big leagues [a single and grand slam in his first two at-bats], I’ll never forget. The ball looked like a beach ball for whatever reason. I wish I could go back to that.” What would you say is the biggest strength of your game?
Bell: “I feel like my resiliency. My ability to be in the lineup, I feel like that’s probably the most important thing at this level, to be in the lineup every day. I’ve heard pretty cool stories about [José] Ramírez about last season [playing through a thumb injury]. Saw [Manny] Machado last year play through an ankle [injury]. As you get older and the team needs you, it’s really important to be out there, and I feel like I’ve done a good job with that in my career.” What are you most looking forward to about Cleveland?
Bell: “Free babysitting from my wife’s family [who live nearby]. It was kind of different going coast-to-coast last year, not really having family around, so definitely pumped to have her grandparents, her mother stop by, my brother-in-law stop by, watching games, having people in the stands rooting for me. And definitely pumped for the atmosphere. I heard it gets nuts over the summer. Excited to experience it.”