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"This Year We're Going To Hustle!"

Chris Jones Shares His Thoughts On The Upcoming Season

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January 13, 2005:  Newark Bears News spoke with a few of your favorite players and coaches recently to find out what they're up to.

Mike Smith Happy in Texas

RHP Mike Smith, who was with the team for parts of the 2002 and 2004 seasons, is happy spending the offseason in his home state of Texas.  Having played with the Coastal Bend Aviators and Fort Worth Cats of the Central League before rejoining the Bears in August, Mike points to his time with the Cats as particularly rewarding.  "I liked the team and the area," Mike told us, "and the coaching staff really cared about the players." 

Mike had an opportunity to play in Mexico starting after the Thanksgiving holiday, but decided he wanted to rest his body and be at 100% for next season.  Speaking of next season, though Mike is talking with long-time buddy Chris Jones about coming back to Newark, he says that Fort Worth has already picked up his options for next year, and playing for them he can live at home for free during the season rather than have to find housing in New Jersey.  "But I don't rule anything out" at this point, he says.

We asked Mike how he thought Chris Jones would be as a manager.  "I think he'll be an excellent manager," Mike says without hesitation.  "He knows the game well, nobody plays harder than him, and he has a good work ethic.  I think he'll be a good leader."

Clint Smith Excited About Lancaster

RHP Clint Smith, who spent all of the 2004 season with the Bears, is something of a Renaissance man.  "I have 15 credit hours left to graduate, with a major in kinesiology, and a minor in history, at Texas Lutheran University," in Seguin, Texas.  He also says he has 20 hours to go for his English degree.  Completing his education "will take a load off my mind," says Clint, so he plans to graduate this spring.  For that reason, he has declined to play winter ball, explaining that having that degree in hand will let him focus on playing well.

Speaking of playing well, Clint says he felt he had a good year with the Bears and was happy with his numbers (6-9, 3.97), especially since "it's a good AAA-equivalent league."  He says that having Rickey Henderson as his left fielder underscored the high level of play in the Atlantic League.

Apparently others liked what they saw, too.  The Atlantic League expansion team Lancaster Barnstormers chose Clint in the expansion draft a few weeks ago.  "I felt pretty good because I was chosen first in the draft, and there were former major league players involved," says Clint.  He says that in his first year of professional ball, 2001, he was drafted by the expansion Edinburg Roadrunners of the Texas-Louisiana League (now the Central League), who went on to win the championship in their first year.  He hopes that's a harbinger of what will happen with his new team!

Pedro Sierra

Coach Sierra tells us that he will be heading to Taiwan in January to be a pitching coach for the LaNew Bears!  "Once a Bear, always a Bear," Pete says.  Good luck, Coach!


Newark, New Jersey (November 22, 2004, courtesy of the Newark Bears)  The Newark Bears Professional Baseball Club announced today that former major league outfielder Chris Jones has been named as the team’s new field manager. Jones will be introduced at a press conference in Newark on Thursday, December 9th, at which time the Bears will also be unveiling the team’s new look.

The 39-year old Jones is a familiar name to Bears fans as he spent the 2004 season playing in Newark. Jones appeared in 79 games with the Bears and hit 15 home runs, drove in 69 runs and was tied for 8th in the Atlantic League batting race with a .313 average last season. At the conclusion of the ’04 campaign Jones retired as a player after having played 21 seasons in professional baseball.

“Chris showed me tremendous leadership and a strong work ethic last season; and I truly believe that those traits will make him a successful manager here in Newark,” said Bears Senior Vice President and General Manager Dean Rivera. “I am very excited that Chris has accepted the challenge of leading the Bears on the field.”

Originally a 3rd round selection of the Cincinnati Reds out of Liverpool High School in upstate New York in 1984, Jones played for eleven different organizations in his career. He broke into the major leagues in 1991 with the Reds, batting .292 in 89 at-bats that season. In all Jones played in 548 career major league games, for 8 different big league teams, and batted .252 with 30 home runs and 131 RBI.

Jones spent two seasons playing for the New York Mets in 1995 and 1996. He hit a career-high 8 home runs for the Mets in ’95 while batting .280 with 31 runs-batted-in. Jones also played in the majors with the Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants and Milwaukee Brewers.

“I am very thankful that the Newark Bears have given me this opportunity to start a whole new career,” said Jones. “I jump into this wholeheartedly. It’s a different challenge and I look forward to attacking it.”

“What got me to the major leagues was not my hitting or fielding,” added Jones. “What got me there is that I always hustled, always worked my hardest to succeed; and that’s what I am going to demand of my team as manager. You won’t be congratulated for hustling because that should be automatic. If you don’t hustle, you won’t play for me.”

Jones becomes the fourth manager in franchise history. He follows Tom O’Malley (1998-2001), Marv Foley (2002) and Bill Madlock (2003-2004).


Fans Get More Games; First Games Against New Lancaster Team

2005 Season Schedule

November 23, 2004:  The Newark Bears season schedule for 2005 has been set by the Atlantic League.  With the introduction of the new Lancaster Barnstormers, the League has extended the season by one week at either end.  As a result, the Bears have a 140-game schedule, starting with a special April 27 game in Newark against the Patriots, and they end the season in Lancaster on September 25.

2005 will feature the Bears' first games against the new team, with a series beginning in Lancaster on May 20.  The All-Star Game will be in Atlantic City this year, on July 13.



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