With Bell, Reds Put an End to Sweet Era

Sweet wont be back as Bats' manager

In the baseball bidness, no one manages the same minor league team for 7 years. But Rick Sweet’s lengthy tenure here was marked by some remarkable teams and an excellent product.  No one had any complaints about Sweet’s skills as a minor league manager. He was signed to a contract already for next year, and in his post-season interview talked about how excited he was about coming back.

Which is why it was so surprising when the Louisville Bats’ parent organization, the Cincinnati Reds, announced today that David Bell will be the team’s manager next year. Sweet, according to Bats’ GM Dale Owens, is still with the organization and wasn’t fired, but will take on other, as-yet-unnamed, duties for the Reds.

Bell is a popular choise with Bats’ management. He’s a former player here, and in fact is one of just four franchise players to hit for the cycle in a game. He did it for the Redbirds in 1995. Bell has been managing Cincinnati’s Double A Carolina squad for three years, and played in 12 major league seasons. He’s from the famed Bell baseball family — dad Buddy was a major league 3rd baseman and grand-dad Gus was a Reds’ great.

Owens said Bell will be in town sometime in January for a press conference.

And thanks to the switch to a new ticketing system, Bats’ tickets for 2012 will be available in December.  Here’s the scoop:

For the first time ever, all 2012 single game events will be available during a December Presale. Fans can purchase tickets for all 72 home games, including Thunder Over Louisville on April 21, Opening Night, and the Independence Day fireworks show on July 3. Tickets will be available to purchase on-line (www.batsbaseball.com), December 1 through December 25. Tickets will also be available through the Louisville Slugger Field advance box office, located at Main and Preston Street, through December 22, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Phone orders may be placed by calling during regular box office hours at 1-855-228-8497.

Eight-game Christmas packs, which include a Joey Votto/Josh Hamilton MVP Bobblehead or a 2011 Bats Team card set, are available, starting at just $49. Call the Bats front office at (502) 212-2287, or visit www.batsbaseball.com, for more information on Christmas packs, full season tickets, mini plans, group outings and suite rentals