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David Bell and father Buddy on opposite sides of Cubs-White Sox city rivalry

Updated: May 27, 2013 10:32PM

The Cubs-White Sox series is a city rivalry, but it’s a family rivalry this season, too.

In this corner is White Sox assistant general manager Buddy Bell. In that corner is Cubs third-base coach David Bell, Buddy’s son.

But this is a kid-gloves battle at best.

‘‘I managed against him a few times when he was playing,’’ said Buddy, who managed the Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals while David was playing for six teams in his 12-year career. ‘‘I didn’t have much fun managing against him.’’

This time, Buddy will get to watch from the executive suites while 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, other than just being able to see him. [That’s something] 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 Sox’ vice president of player development and special assignments before this season], so I’ve been able to see them. It’s
been great.’’

David, 40, was a third-base coach and manager for four seasons in the Cincinnati Reds’ system, including managing the Reds’ Class AAA team last season, before joining the Cubs.

‘‘He likes it here,’’ Buddy said of David’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 his 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 his dad, Gus, and also includes his son Mike, the player-development director for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and his 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.’’

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,’’ he said. ‘‘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. 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.’’

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