© St. Petersburg Times, published November 25, 2002
Third baseman David Bell agreed to a $17-million, four-year deal with Philadelphia on Sunday.
Bell hit .261 with 20 homers and 73 RBIs last season, helping San Francisco reach the World Series.
The free agent will replace All-Star third baseman Scott Rolen, traded by Philadelphia to St. Louis in July. Bell chose the Phillies over the Giants, where he played one year after 31/2 seasons with Seattle.
"It was a tough decision but I feel I made the right decision. I couldn't be happier," Bell said.
"They have the basis for a great team. It's a young team, but they have all the pieces in place. I'm looking forward to coming in and doing anything I can to help them win."
Bell will get $3-million in 2003, $4.2-million in 2004 and $4.5-million in 2005 and 2006, with a signing bonus of $800,000.
The 30-year-old also played with Cleveland and St. Louis in an eight-year major-league career. He has a career average of .256 with 81 homers and 351 RBIs.
Phillies manager Larry Bowa was a coach with the Mariners while Bell was there from 1999-2001.
"His work ethic is second to none," Bowa said. "He's always prepared, plays the game the way it's supposed to be played. He's very unselfish, knows how to play and has come from winning teams."
Bell said San Francisco and Philadelphia made similar offers, and his decision did not come down to money. He also said the departure of former Giants manager Dusty Baker was not a factor and he is comfortable playing for Bowa.
"I know Larry, and I really like Larry," Bell said. "I look forward to playing for him."
MORE BASEBALL: Boston will hire assistant GM Theo Epstein as general manager, the Associated Press reported. Epstein, 28, will be the youngest GM in the sport's history. Randy Smith was 29 when he was hired by San Diego in 1993. The Red Sox have been without a permanent GM since Florida financier John W. Henry bought the team in spring training and fired Dan Duquette.
AMERICA'S CUP: Seattle's OneWorld was accused of "gross multiple violations" of the event protocol by rivals who have demanded its disqualification from the challenger series in Auckland, New Zealand. Senior challengers Prada of Italy and New York's Stars & Stripes jointly demanded the Cup Arbitration Panel hear new allegations OneWorld obtained and made use of confidential design and performance information belonging to other teams. Prada and Stars & Stripes are involved with OneWorld in quarterfinal repechages. Sunday's racing was called off because of high winds. OneWorld executive director Bob Ratliffe said the accusations "are desperate acts by desperate people who don't have enough guts to get out on the water and attempt to win this thing like sportsmen."
COLLEGES: South Florida's volleyball team advanced to the Conference USA tournament final in Chicago for the fourth time in eight years after a 3-1 victory over Cincinnati. Senior Michelle Collier led second-seeded USF with 31 kills and four aces. The Bulls face No. 1 seed Louisville at 8 tonight. In the SEC tournament, Florida beat host Arkansas 3-1 behind 23 kills from MVP Jacque Robinson and 24 from SEC player of the year Aury Cruz for its fifth consecutive tournament title. In the ACC tournament, Florida State fell 3-1 to host Georgia Tech in the final. Senior Alex Sevillano led the Seminoles with 12 kills and 15 digs. ... Heather Aughinbaugh and Kelly Doton each scored as Wake Forest beat Penn State 2-0 in Louisville, Ky., to win its first Division I field hockey championship. ... Freshman Vipa Bernhardt set the school record in the 200-yard breaststroke and the Florida women's swimming and diving team beat visiting Georgia 137-106 Saturday.
BOXING: Undefeated Brian Viloria eked out a majority 12-round decision over Alberto Rossel in Lake Grove, N.Y., to retain his NABF flyweight title. Judges scored it 115-113 and 116-112 in favor of Viloria, and another had it 114-114. Undefeated Clarence Vinson won a unanimous bantamweight decision over Indelfonso Martinez.
POWERBOATS: Clearwater's Hugh Fuller and North Miami's John Tomlinson piloted Drambuie on Ice to a second straight Super Cat world title at the Key West World Offshore Championships.
GYMNASTICS: American Ashley Postell won the balance beam, and teammate Samantha Sheehan finished third in the floor exercise at the World Championships in Debrecen, Hungary.
HORSES: Cee's Elegance won by 4 lengths in the $107,400 Cat's Cradle Handicap at Hollywood Park, returning $13.40, $5.60 and $5.40. ... Elite Mercedes won the featured optional claiming allowance at Churchill Downs, returning $4 and $2.80.
WINTER SPORTS: Italy won a season-opening World Cup cross-country ski relay (40K mixed) in Kiruna, Sweden, in 1 hour, 35 minutes, 56.8 seconds. In the women's 20K mixed-style relay, Norway won in 53:52.9. ... Olympic medalist Cindy Klassen (1:57.74) of Canada won the women's 1,500 meters at a World Cup meet in Heerenveen, Netherlands, and Carl Verheijen (13:30.53) won the men's 10,000. ... World champions Irina Lobacheva and Ilia Averbukh won the ice dancing competition in their season debut at the Cup of Russia Grand Prix in Moscow. ... Austria's Rainer Schoenfelder (1:46.66) won a slalom event in Park City, Utah, for his third World Cup victory. ... Germany's Georg Hackl had a combined 1:32.428 to win a World Cup luge event in Park City, Utah.
RUNNING: Kenya's Mike Korir won the Philadelphia Marathon in 2 hours, 18 minutes, 43 seconds. For the women, Russia's Tatiana Maslova beat Cassy Byrne of Pottstown, Pa., in the final mile to win in 2:39.47. Byrne finished in 2:40.27.
WEIGHTLIFTING: Azerbaijan's Nizami Pashayev won the men's 94-kilogram at the World Championships in Warsaw, Poland. Poland's Agata Wrobel finished first in the women's 75K.
OBITUARY: Cecil Dowdy Jr., an All-America offensive lineman who won two national championships with Alabama in 1964 and '65, was killed in a hunting accident. Dowdy, 57, was near Helena, Ark., when his 12-gauge shotgun discharged as he was wading into a creek to retrieve a duck that had been shot. Dowdy was shot in the lower jaw and taken to a hospital, where he died.