ATLANTA -- Suspended Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell planned to watch Friday's game in privacy after his wayward experience the night before.
Bell, who is serving a six-game suspension for his role in a benches-clearing brawl this week, tried to observe his team from the stands Thursday at SunTrust Park, only to be recognized by fans who wanted to chat and take pictures with him during the action.
"What happened first was I went to the outfield seats because I am allowed in the seats and I blend in," he said before Cincinnati faced the Atlanta Braves in the second game of the four-game series. "Nobody's ever known or cared who I [was] or that I do anything, but I don't know. With everything that's gone on the last few days, I sat down and people started coming up to me right away. Then I went into the concourse and was going to move seats. People were like, 'Hey, there's the manager!' I knew this wasn't going to work."
Bell left the ballpark and went to the Omni hotel behind center field. He watched the game for a while, but had to leave the hotel when the satellite TV service went out. He then moved from restaurant to restaurant in the Battery retail area adjacent to the ballpark before heavy storms hit the area and ended the game in the seventh inning.
Bell took an Uber back to the team hotel.
"It seems funny," he said, "but I really was struggling last night."
Bell said the rules of his suspension state that he's not allowed near the dugout, clubhouse or press box during the game. He left the clubhouse Thursday 20 minutes before the first pitch.
"I just have to be in one of the seats if I'm in the stadium," he said.
Bench coach Freddie Benavides is running the team in his absence.
"It's really tough for me," Bell said. "We're in great hands. There's no concern there, but for me it's really tough."
Bell had an offer to watch the game in a network radio studio just outside the ballpark.
"Tonight I've got the MLB app set up on my phone," he said. "I don't know why I didn't think of that. Now I can watch it anywhere tonight. I'm all set."