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Minnesota Twins-Cincinnati Reds honor Mike Bell in pregame tribute

MINNEAPOLIS – One of the things that struck David Bell is how much of an impact his late brother, Mike, made in one season with the Minnesota Twins organization.

Mike Bell, the Twins’ bench coach, died on March 26 from kidney cancer at 46 years old. With the Cincinnati Reds in town for a two-game series, the Twins held a pregame tribute for Mike Bell as a part of the team’s Cancer Awareness Night.

Mike Bell's wife Kelly gets a hug from Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell during a Mike Bell Tribute before a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Monday, June 21, 2021, in Minneapolis. Twins bench coach Mike Bell passed away from cancer in March.

Center fielder Byron Buxton mentioned that he always taps the “MB” patch that sits on the right sleeve of their jerseys. Several members of the Twins, from players to coaches to front office staff, met with Mike Bell’s family before the pregame ceremony to offer hugs.

The Twins made a $10,000 donation to Gigi’s Playhouse Twin Cities in honor of Mike Bell. They presented Mike Bell’s children with a No. 27 Bell jersey that the entire team signed and gave them flowers.

The family of Mike Bell watch a video presentation during a Mike Bell Tribute before a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Monday, June 21, 2021, in Minneapolis. Twins bench coach Mike Bell passed away from cancer in March.

“The Twins have been amazing,” David Bell said. “They have treated Mike and our family as family. They’ve been incredibly supportive. It’s a special night. It’s something we’ve been looking forward to. I think it’s part of the process for our family.”

There were 13 members of Mike Bell’s family at Monday’s game, including Mike’s wife, Kelly, and their children, Madeline, Mikayla and Luke; Mike’s mom, Gloria; and Mike’s sister, Kristi.

Mike Bell's widow Kelly throws the ceremonial first pitch during a Mike Bell Tribute before a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Monday, June 21, 2021, in Minneapolis. Twins bench coach Mike Bell passed away from cancer in March.

David Bell spoke on behalf of the family in front of the Target Field crowd. Reds players all stood in front of their dugout to watch.

“On behalf on the Bell family, I’d like to thank Rocco (Baldelli), Thad (Levine), Derek (Falvey) and the entire Twins organization for honoring Mike in such a thoughtful way,” said Bell, who paused to gather himself while reading from a prepared statement. “The donation to Gigi’s and the jersey that’s been given to us by the players, and also the continued support to our family, has been incredibly generous and is very much appreciated.

“To the players and the staff, during spring training as Mike watched your games on TV from the hospital and watched your practices on live stream, he told me how much he loved you guys and your support meant so much to him. Thank you.”

Cincinnati Reds' Mike Bell (28) is congratulated by Chris Sexton, left, after Bell hit his first major league home run, in the eighth inning off Montreal Expos pitcher Steve Kline, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2000, in Cincinnati.

David Bell recounted his last trip to Target Field. The Reds clinched a playoff spot in Minnesota last year, and the two brothers celebrated behind home plate before one game because both of their teams were headed to the postseason.

“I know that he would want us to all be there for one another, to continue to support each other and he would definitely want us to be great teammates in our daily lives,” David Bell said in his on-field speech. “To all the people in attendance tonight who have had their lives touched by cancer and had their lives changed forever, our heart goes out to all of you. Thank you all very much and thank you so much to the Twins.”

Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell looks on during a tribute to his late brother Mike Bell before a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Monday, June 21, 2021, in Minneapolis. Twins bench coach Mike Bell passed away from cancer in March.

After David Bell completed his on-field speech, he hugged Baldelli, the Twins’ manager.


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