Monday, May 9, 2016

Merry-Go-Round Time: Four LMB teams recycle managers

It's not unusual for Mexican League teams to fire managers before the All-Star Break (this year's will be June 3-5 in Monterrey), but the triggers have started firing a little sooner this season.  Three teams canned their skippers before the end of April, replacing each with other former managers who've been aboard the same merry-go-round the recently-dispatched helmsmen have boarded once more themselves.  While younger managers will filter into the Liga here and there, there are many veteran LMB leaders who seemingly recycle from team to team for years.

The axe first swung on April 28 when Oaxaca let Enrique "Che" Reyes (pictured) go after the Guerreros got off to a 4-18 start, losing their first eleven games.  Reyes previously managed in Aguascalientes, Puebla, Dos Laredos, Cancun, back to Puebla, Angelopolis, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, Tabasco, Monterrey, Aguascalientes (again) and Tabasco (again) before coming to Oaxaca.  He was replaced by Alfonso "Houston" Jimenez, who has managed in Mexico City, Saltillo, Puebla, Minatitlan, Veracruz and (of course) Oaxaca.  Jimenez' first stint with the Guerreros was from 2002-04.

It didn't take long for Reyes to find his next stop, replacing Francisco Estrada in Tabasco after the well-traveled "Paquin" (Toluca, Minatitlan, Puebla, Cancun, Chihuahua, Tabasco) posted a 7-15 to start the year, leading to his dismissal. Estrada was hired in the offseason, plenty of time to build a winning team in Villahermosa.

Not to miss out on the fun, the Laguna Vaqueros determined that an 11-13 mark was enough to sack Mario Mendoza on April 30.  The man who gave baseball the Mendoza Line, the Chihuahua native led teams in Monclova, Aguascalientes, Dos Laredos, Angeleopolis, Tabasco, Campeche, Monclova (again) and Tijuana before coming to Torreon this year.  The Vaqueros opted for youth in bringing Daniel Fernandez in.  The 50-year-old Fernandez has only been managing long enough to work in Mexico City, Tabasco, Veracruz and Yucatan before his hiring in Laguna.

And to stay with the theme after this story was first posted on May 9, the Veracruz Rojo Aguilas sent yet one more first-year manager, Mark Weidemaier, packing after the Red Eagles began the year with a 12-21 record.  Weidemaier, who also managed Torreon in 1988, was hired by Veracruz in the offseason after spending two years coaching with the Washington Nationals.

He was replaced by another of the new breed, Lino Connell, who'd been managing the Northern Mexico League Ensenada Marineros, a farm team shared by Mexico City and Oaxaca.  Connell has seen enough of the world to be a Samsonite spokesman, playing in the United States, Mexico, Italy and his native Venezuela from 1991 to 2010.  He spent from 2000 to 2006 with Veracruz, Oaxaca and Reynosa during his 20-year playing career.  Connell began last season in Ensenada before finishing out the campaign running the Monterrey Sultanes and was recently named bench coach of the winter Venezuelan League Zulia Aguilas.

Although it's not unusual to see players spend 10 to 20 seasons with the same Mexican League team, managers have less job security than being married to a Kardashian.