By Toni Ginnetti and Gordon Wittenmyer
The crosstown Cubs-White Sox series is a city rivalry, but this season it becomes a family rivalry, too.
In this corner, Buddy Bell, the White Sox assistant general manager.
In that corner, son David Bell, the third base coach for the Cubs.
But this will be a kid-gloves battle at best.
``I managed against him a few times when he was playing with Cleveland and Seattle,'' said dad Buddy, who managed the Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals at times when David was playing for Cleveland and Cincinnati. ``I didn't have much fun managing against him.''
This time dad will get to watch from the executive suites while son David is on the field in his first season with the Cubs.
``We've always kind of had situations like that and we always talk about it,'' David said. ``I think it's always been more difficult for him because I could just go out and play.
``But now it's a little different, having different roles in our respective organizations. It's something I haven't given a whole lot of thought to, even with this series coming up, other than just being able to see him--which we've gotten to do quite a bit living in the same city, which has been great.''
For Buddy, that has been the best part.
``We get to see our grandchildren more than we see David, but that's been great,'' Buddy said. ``Obviously when our club is on the road, the Cubs are home, but I'm here a lot more now than I've ever been [Bell was the vice president of player development and special assignments before this season] so I've been able to see them. It's been great.''
David Bell, 40, played in the majors for 12 seasons and was a third base coach and manager for four years in Cincinnati's system, including managing the Reds' Class AAA team in Louisville last season.
``He likes it here,'' Buddy said of his son's first major league coaching experience. ``He likes the coaching staff and he played at the big league level for a long time so he's used to that environment.''
David's family has had an easy time adjusting to Chicago, partly because of the years coming to the city as a player but also because his wife attended Loyola University.
``Most of the family is in Cincinnati, which isn't that far, so we'd get to see everyone, but this has been fun,'' said Buddy, whose baseball family was started by patriarch Gus and includes son Mike, who is player development director for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and son Ricky, who played in the Los Angeles Dodgers system for 10 seasons.
``We've been doing this for so many seasons, it seems no matter where we play there's a connection with my sons,'' Buddy said.
But being in the same city is a new and welcome novelty, David said.
``We've never really been in the same city during the course of a season, so it's been really nice for my family to get that time together.
`` We've always had a close family--five kids in our family.
``My mom and dad both did a great job of keeping us all together, even though with baseball you do a lot of traveling and a busy life. But we've always been really close and stayed in touch.
``As much as we're all busy doing our own thing, to always have the game in common has been a real blessing.''