SAN DIEGO -- Heath Bell made another colorful All-Star running entrance on Sunday.This time he didn't slide.Nearly five years to the day after he made his third consecutive Midsummer Classic appearance as a Padre by sprinting in from the bullpen and doing a classic popup slide next to the mound,
SAN DIEGO -- Heath Bell made another colorful All-Star running entrance on Sunday.
This time he didn't slide.
Nearly five years to the day after he made his third consecutive Midsummer Classic appearance as a Padre by sprinting in from the bullpen and doing a classic popup slide next to the mound, Bell appeared bright and early to help start the field in The Color Run MLB All-Star 5K presented by Nike at Waterfront Park, with proceeds benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
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"It's a great turnout. It's awesome," Bell said. "They should have had this start and finish in the outfield [at Petco Park]. That would have been kind of cool. I guess they didn't want that because the whole outfield would be all colors. It's a great event just to kick off the whole All-Star festival this week."
Bell, 38, who joined former Padres pitcher Randy Jones -- a two-time All-Star -- at the event, received a loud ovation from the runners who were waiting to get started before the color-blasting affair. As his former club prepares to host the 87th All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on Tuesday (4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET on FOX) at Petco Park, Bell said his own personal favorite All-Star memory is a no-brainer.
"All three of them are great, there are memorable moments for all of them, but the best one for me is probably my slide," Bell said. "I'm the only one to ever do it, to slide into the pitcher's mound before I come pitch. A few inspirational words [National League manager Bruce] Bochy told me after he saw my slide, very choice words. I think I probably bring it out because I'm probably the only one who ever would do it, unless someone falls."
It was the top of the eighth inning at Chase Field in Phoenix, and the NL had a 5-1 lead. With two out, Bochy summoned Bell to replace Jonny Venters of Atlanta and face Jhonny Peralta, then with Detroit, to get the last out of the inning.
Bell sprinted in across the outfield and stunned everyone with his entrance move. His catcher, Yadier Molina, flashed a huge smile. FOX broadcaster Joe Buck said, "Think he's having any fun?"
That's Bell. He also brought out a six-foot "big bat" that year, saying he would swing that if only they would let him hit in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby. It's in his living room now.
Bell is done closing but hardly done with baseball or All-Star stuff. He announced his retirement last March, and just finished coaching his son Reece's Rancho Peñasquito Little League All-Star team. Bell is trying to "keep my foot in the door" for a broadcast opportunity one day soon, and he thinks helping high school players might be a good fit.
"I've tried to spend some time with the family since the last 20 years I really haven't spent a whole lot of time with them," Bell said. "I was always gone eight months out of the year."
Bell and Jones had fun blasting media and a bunch of runners with the first color clouds of the day.
"I think this is the best city in baseball, definitely one of the best fields in baseball, and you've got to say they are the best fans in baseball," Bell said. "The weather is nice, and every opposing player who ever came to San Diego loves this place.
"I get to bring my kids to an All-Star Game. Before, they were at three All-Star Games where I actually played, but I wasn't sitting in the stands next to them, where I can see their smiles and cheer on the athletes. It's going to be a proud day for daddy here."
The 87th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.