I Loved Bubba Bell !!

November 4, 2006

by Peter J. Porcelli, II

                                                 I LOVED BUBBA BELL !!



      Life truly brings a somber mood and some real head shaking to me thinking about the passing of Bubba. I have had to endure, like all of us, the tragedies of the Chris Wilson’s, the Frankie Forgraves, and Russ Boice, but this one hits me hard. Why, I ask.


     When  I first saw Bubba, it was in Kimberley watching the Hearts, back in 1993. He was at the plate and swinging out of his shoes at a riseball served up by Chub Tangeroa. Having never seen Bubba, I made a remark about his size and shape. Barry Kahler, one of my players quickly told me to watch his hands, not his body…I did. Bubba was not just quick with his hands, he was lightning.  He cracked the next pitch over the fence for a solo home run and his team still lost 7-1. I was very intrigued. After all, I was new to this game and  just looking at him, I thought, at first, he did not belong. But his hand speed and ability to see the ball as a batter, flat out, shocked me.


     After that, whenever the Smokers traveled, I always looked to see if Bubba was there, how Bubba was doing, got to know him and continued following him with the Rage. I was to see him beat several teams with his bat, saw his team lose many a game, some heartbreakers.  In the few times we played against him, the goal was not to keep him off the bases, we could not do that. Rather  our goal was to keep him in the yard, and try to pitch to him with no one on.  I made such a stink about him to my players whenever we were in line to play him, that I was accused of being obsessed with him. Maybe I was.


     Part of me was envious of the gift he had for hitting in spite of his physical limitations in other respects. Part of me just did not want to get beat by a team we were favored over. Part of me wanted to enjoy his hitting as long as we had enough of a lead I could, in fact enjoy him hit against my pitching. I liked him very much. I admired his spirit of competition. I enjoyed talking with him at tourneys, he was a smart cookie. And I loved the fact he knew I paid particular attention to him, and he always tried his very best to see his team beat us. I think he wanted to beat me, partially for making it such a big deal to follow him and beat his team.


     I feel the loss. I always say, when it is all over and done (the competition) all we really have left is the people, but that is the most important part. The people of our sport. They are the true jewel, not the game. But the game makes it possible for these special people like Bubba to come together and live part of our lives together and enjoy, no,……. be thrilled by the experience.


    Because of the people of this sport, I still can be highly motivated, without having my own team to manage on the field and  still be part of a team and be able to be a contributor to the success of the ISC.  Bubba was one of those special people. He will never be forgotten by me. I loved that son of a gun! God Bless you forever, Bubba !


Peter J. Porcelli, II
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