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Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman fired by Mexican League team

Updated June 10, 2017 - 4:44 pm

Wally Backman is out as manager of the Monclova Acereros of the Mexican Baseball League after just 42 games.

No governments were overthrown. No animals were harmed.

The fiery Backman compiled a 309-267 record in four seasons as Las Vegas 51s manager before leaving the New York Mets’ organization after a falling out with the front office. A lot of baseball people thought he might not be a good fit south of the border. But sketchy reports indicated his ouster had nothing to do with temperament.

Backman, who was popular with 51s players, fans and media, was fired after guiding Monclova to a 22-20 record.

Apparently, the language barrier made it difficult for Backman to communicate with his players, 51s president Don Logan said.

Monclova has never won a Mexican League championship, and when the Acereros lost a game in front of a big crowd recently, Backman was fired by owner Gerardo Benavides, Logan said. So was Von Hayes, the former Indians and Phillies outfielder who managed at Puebla, another Benavides-owned club.

One fan on a Mets website wrote, “I didn’t think you got ‘fired’ in the Mexican League. I just thought you were never seen again.” But Logan said Backman already has taken a job with another Mexican team as a bench coach.

It’s elementary

If someone held a foam “We’re No. 1” finger to your head and said to name the local school that has produced an NBA player, a WNBA player, an NCAA national champion softball pitcher, an LPGA pro, a McDonald’s All-American and a Gatorade Player of the Year, your first guess would be Bishop Gorman.

The correct answer is R.E. Tobler, a small elementary school in northwest Las Vegas.

Ken Hinton, who taught physical education at Tobler, wrote in an email that many top athletes attended Tobler when they were youngsters. They included:

— C.J. Watson, a 10-year NBA veteran now with the Orlando Magic.

— Chelsea Hopkins, who played basketball at Duke and San Diego State and is now with the WNBA’s New York Liberty.

— Leslie Wolf, a pitcher for 2006 NCAA national softball champion Arizona.

— Stephanie Louden, a four-time All-American at Stanford who spent 12 years on the LPGA Tour.

— Troy Brown Jr., a McDonald’s basketball All-American who has signed with Oregon.

— Jada Brown, Troy’s sister, a former Gatorade Player of the Year who recently finished a four-year basketball career at Kansas.

“For a school like Gorman or some of the other high schools, this is probably nothing,” Hinton wrote. “But for us at R.E. Tobler, it sure makes us proud.”

0:03

— Apparently those at stock car racing headquarters knew what they were doing in naming Riley Herbst to its NASCAR Next list of up-and-coming drivers. Driving a Toyota for former Super Bowl coach Joe Gibbs, the Las Vegas teenager raced to his first ARCA series victory at Pocono (Pennsylvania) Raceway on Friday. Herbst, the son of off-road racing star Troy Herbst, took the lead early from Xfinity Series regular Brandon Jones and led 45 of 80 laps.

— Astute soccer fans may recall that Real Madrid and Juventus, the combatants in this year’s UEFA Champion’s League final — Madrid won 4-1 — are the same two international sides that were to play in a friendly at Sam Boyd Stadium in 2012 as part of the World Football Challenge. A previous commitment forced the Italian team to back out of the event, with Santos Laguna of Mexico stepping in. Real Madrid won 2-1. Its global superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, did not score, but many in the crowd of 29,152 snapped his picture with cellphone cameras.

— UNLV shortstop Bryson Stott, a Desert Oasis High graduate who has been named to the College Baseball Freshman All-America team, is the son of Derek Stott, who survived three seasons as the Rebels’ starting quarterback when Jim Strong was coach. I’m sure Papa Stott has many stories to tell.

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

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