Pirates’ Bell dresses as an all-star player

CLEVELAND – Now that he’s an all-star, Josh Bell knows he has to look the part.

So when Bell walked into Monday afternoon’s media availability at the Huntington Convention Center, he wanted to look as good as he, hopefully, plays in tonight’s 90th annual Major League Baseball gleam game at Progressive Field.

“I didn’t know guys were dressing down (Monday),” Bell smiled as he reveled in his first all-star meeting with the press. “(Monday and Tuesday)I’m going to try and represent by dad pretty well. I think he’d be proud of this attire.”

Bell’s blue jacket and other sparkling accessories only heightened the awareness of the slugger, who will bat sixth in Manager Dave Roberts’ lineup and serve as the NL’s designated hitter.

Bell is excited to be starting and is eager to give the Steel City fans who made the short trip over from the Keystone State something to be proud of.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Bell, who’ll be joined by teammate Felipe Vazquez on the field for the anthem tonight.

“You always think about the all-star game,” said Bell, who’s already belted 27 homers and drove in 84 runs in 2019. “I’m just trying to take it all in.”

Morton Returns

Charlie Morton has made his first season with Tampa Bay one of his best.

And although he’ll sit out tonight’s game after pitching the Rays past the Yankees on Sunday, the longtime Pittsburgh Pirate standout earned his second straight all-star berth thanks to a strong start, one that saw him win a franchise-tying eight starts to start this season.

Morton, who spent the last two years with Houston, has high praise for everyone in the Rays organization, including bullpen coach Stan Boroski, the Ohio Valley native.

“Stan is a pretty simple guy”,” Morton said. ‘He’s a straight shooter.

“We work well together. He’ll play catch with me, and he’s always there at the scouting meetings with great information.

“He’s one of the good people in Tampa. He’s one of the people that makes Tampa special and is one of the reasons why we’ve had so much success.”

Game ‘Means’ a Lot

For John Means, his first all-star selection marks the continuation of his maturation process.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Means, in his first full season with the rebuilding Orioles.

Add to that, he’s the first all-star from West Virginia University.

“I just found that out,” he smiled. “It’s a pretty surreal experience.”

As a first-time player in the midsummer classic, Means admits he’s been picking the brains of the more experienced all-stars. And while he’s not exactly the most recognizable of the players who’ll suit up tonight, he’s certainly one of the most proud, especially when it comes to his roots.

“Being at West Virginia represented one of the biggest growth periods of my career,” he said. “Plus, we played against some pretty good competition in the Big 12.”

The southpaw beamed with pride as his alma mater played host to a regional tournament this spring.

“It was really cool to be part of the start of the rebuild,” he said. “It’s cool seeing that come to fruition, along with all of the improved facilities and everything.

“It’s just really, really great to see where the program has gone.”