Beetles baseball: World Series champ will lead them - Al Newman new field manager
If the new ownership group of the Alexandria Beetles franchise was looking to make a splash with the first field manager they hired, a good place to start is with a two-time World Series champion.
That's exactly what they did in convincing former Minnesota Twins player and third-base coach Al Newman to lead this team from the dugout in 2013.
"When it was whispered in my ear if I might consider it, I tell you, a grin came upon my face that hasn't been there for five or six years pertaining to the excitement of coaching older players," Newman said on Wednesday morning. "And players who have the mindset that they want to play professionally. It really intrigued me."
Newman's connection to the team stems from the relationship he has with new co-owner Adam Barta. Barta is the owner of the Minnesota Baseball Academy based out of Vadnais Heights, where Newman is currently his lead fielding instructor for the infield.
"Having a big name as manager is one thing but that's about five percent of who Al is," Barta said. "He has an ability to communicate with anybody and you can see his passion. When Al walks into a room, everybody knows he is there."
Twins fans have seen that kind of personality from Newman over the course of his playing days and into his life after baseball. He broke into the majors with the Montreal Expos in 1985 and spent two seasons there before joining the Twins from 1987-1991. He was a part of the two World Series teams in 1987 and 1991 before he wrapped up his career in 1992 by playing in 116 games with the Texas Rangers.
Newman went on to coach in the Twins minor-league system and served as Ron Gardenhire's third-base coach for the big-league club from 2002-2005. He currently lives in Savage and most recently has coached the Apple Valley American Legion team while instructing players through Barta's program.
"I want to be a part of the community," Newman said of working in Alexandria. "I want to work with some of the little league programs if there's an opportunity. I'm sure we'll probably have camps at the stadium there, so it's a big picture thing."
Players on this year's roster can expect that same kind of energy in the dugout.
"I love baseball," Newman said. "I think I showed that over my career as a manager and as a third-base coach with the Twins, but these guys are going to get all of me because it's an exciting time for me. I hate to keep saying it, but when you love the game, you love to teach, and I've always considered myself a teacher of the game."