“I’m so emotional to see him in uniform as the Cyclones’ new manager,” said Dan Webster, who served as Chris Newell’s high school manager from 1988 to 1991 in eastern Michigan.
“On our team at Waterford, Chris played shortstop for us and batted third,” said the 32-season manager of Our Lady of the Lakes H.S. just outside of Detroit. “Chris was an All-State Michigan high school player who was a presence in the clubhouse and our spiritual leader.”
According to Webster, even back then Newell worked hard and had a vision and big dreams to make it to the major leagues. Although that didn’t materialize for Newell, he found a way to live his dream through coaching and preparing young players for their careers in professional baseball. Two such products from Newell’s The Players Edge off-season training facility are familiar major leaguers from eastern Michigan: veteran
DJ LeMahieu of the Yankees and recent All Star newcomer Jake Cronenworth of the San Diego Padres.
After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in kinesiology, Newell scouted for the Yankees and then for the Tampa Bay Rays. In 2016, while managing the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers of Michigan’s independent league, Newell had the chance to cross paths with former Cyclones manager Rich Donnelly (2011-13), who served with him as his bench coach and eventual baseball mentor.
After serving in the Mets’ system for the last three seasons, Newell now takes on the position of manager after serving as last season’s bench coach, fully appreciating baseball’s Brooklyn roots and enjoying the responsibility of fulfilling his players’ dreams.