Derek Bell Is in Drug Trouble Again
In 2001, he did something stupid. He signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. After a terrible 2001 season, the Pirates informed him in the spring of 2002 that he'd have to win his starting job back. Bell responded by telling the team that if forced to compete for his job, he'd go in to "Operation Shutdown." If they were unsure what that was, they soon found out. Bell got on his houseboat and sailed away from the Pirates' camp in Bradenton, officially ending his Major League career, while pocketing the $4.5 million the Pirates owed him.
For the next few years, Bell was remembered only for "Operation Shutdown." Then, in 2006, he was arrested on cocaine charges. Bloggers made "Operation Crackdown" jokes, a sadly funny mugshot circulated on the internet, and Bell was mostly forgotten about. Now, Bell has been arrested on drug charges again. There was a point when it was easy to point Bell out as the best example of poor management and athlete greed in the late '90s and early '00s. Now, even as a Pirate fan I can't think of his story as anything but sad.