CSN baseball tournament renamed in honor of Manny Guerra

Updated January 19, 2019 - 5:27 pm

Pitchers and catchers start reporting for spring training Feb. 13.

By then the College of Southern Nevada will have played 12 games.

The first four will be during its Border Classic, which starts Friday and has been renamed the Manny Guerra Memorial Coyote Border Battle Presented by Sunset Station Hotel and Casino.

(Try shortening that for the box score.)

Coyotes coach Nick Garritano said it was appropriate the name of longtime Las Vegas Valley baseball scout Manny Guerra be listed first.

Guerra, who spent 31 years as a major league scout, died Aug. 1. Along with naming the season-opening tournament for him, Garritano said Manny’s son, Mike, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before CSN’s game Friday against San Jacinto, Texas, and a bronze plaque honoring Manny Guerra’s commitment to local baseball will be unveiled at Morse Stadium.

“He would always come into my office, close the door and we’d talk about kids we needed to recruit,” Garritano said about his relationship with Manny Guerra, which dates to when the CSN coach was hitting long balls for Chaparral High School.

“Manny is Las Vegas baseball. I know (Greg) Maddux is out there, and (Kris) Bryant and (Bryce) Harper. But Manny is gonna be dearly missed — he’s already dearly missed. He was a legend, just an incredible human being.”

You go, curl

Thursday’s column on the All-Pro Curling Team comprised of former NFL players prompted response from readers who wanted to know if there was a local club where they could learn to curl the rock.

There is. The Las Vegas Curling Club — “Where Saints and Sinners Curl Like Winners” — meets regularly at Las Vegas Ice Center and will supply the stones, brooms, knowledgeable Canadians and everything else needed to curl. Except for cold beer, which is extra.

For more information, visit lvcurling.com.

Rick Down remembered

The death of longtime major league hitting coach Rick Down of Las Vegas generated poignant emails from those who knew him, including the scout who signed him to a baseball contract when most thought Down was destined to be a football star.

“The first guy I signed was Rick Down out of Southgate High School in Michigan,” wrote Bill Schudlich, who recently retired after 54 years in the scouting business. “After signing for a modest bonus, he spent three years in the minors. The next year he was on the (Expos’) major league roster. He remains one of the most aggressive athletes I ever signed.”

Baseball people (and others) are invited to the Tap House (5589 W. Charleston Blvd.) from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday to celebrate Down’s life, and to share stories about hitting behind the runner and putting the ball in play that he most certainly would have enjoyed.

Rebels’ honorary Captain

The new year has gotten off to a sad start for the local baseball community with the deaths of Rick Down, original Las Vegas Stars owner Larry Koentopp and, to a slightly lesser extent, Daryl Dragon — aka the Captain from the Captain and Tennille — who was 76 when he died of kidney failure in Arizona.

The keyboard player, who toured with the Beach Boys during Brian Wilson’s introverted sandbox days, often attended UNLV baseball games at Barnson Field when he and wife Toni Tennille were booked at Las Vegas showrooms.

“They were huge Dodgers fans, and they loved baseball,” said Jim Gemma, Las Vegas Aviators publicity chief and former UNLV baseball official scorekeeper. “I saw (Dragon) more than a couple of times sitting on the grass berm. He always had his Captain hat on.”

0:01

Perhaps it’s a good thing Sam Boyd Stadium won’t be used for football much longer, as it has been ranked the 20th-worst stadium in college football by Moneywise.com.

It’s still pretty good for Supercross races, however.

The “We’re No. 1” foam finger among decrepit college football edifices went to Vanderbilt Stadium, which was built in 1922 and has never hosted a Southeastern Conference championship team.

As fate almost would insist, UNLV’s Rebels and Vanderbilt’s Commodores will meet Oct. 12 at Vanderbilt Stadium. I’m told plenty of good seats, or at least unoccupied ones, are still available.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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