Rafael Furcal Earns First-Ever Spot on the MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

It’s a special first for Rafael Furcal

The 42-year-old Dominican former professional baseball shortstop is among 18 newcomers on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot.

Rafael Furcal

Furcal, who retired from Major League Baseball in 2014, for the Atlanta BravesLos Angeles DodgersSt. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins. With St. Louis, he won the 2011 World Series over the Texas Rangers. He was the National League Rookie of the Yearin 2000 and a three-time MLB All-Star.

Other newcomers announced Monday by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America include Derek Jeter, Cliff LeeJosh BeckettJason Giambi, Paul KonerkoBobby Abreuand Alfonso Soriano.

Holdovers include Curt Schilling, who received 60.9% last year, Roger Clemens (59.5%), Barry Bonds (59.1%) and Larry Walker(54.6%). Schilling rose from 51.2% in 2018. Walker, on the ballot for the 10th and final time this year, increased from 34.1% in 2018.

Bonds and Clemens, whose candidacies have been tainted by allegations of steroid use, are both on for the eighth time. Clemens rose from 57.3% in 2018 and Bonds from 56.4%.

In all, 10 Latino former ‘ballers made the list… In addition to Furcal, Abreu, and Soriano, former players on the list include Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, Manny Ramirez, Carlos Pena, Sammy SosaJose Valverdeand Omar Vizquel.

Ballots are sent to more than 400 BBWAAmembers with at least 10 consecutive years in the organization, and a player must appear on at least 75% to gain election. Ballots must be mailed by December 31, and results will be announced January 21.

Anyone elected will be inducted July 26 along with any selections by the Hall’s modern era committee, which meets and votes in San Diego on December 8.

Players remain on the ballot for up to 10 years, provided they receive at least 5% of the vote annually.

Roy HalladayEdgar Martinez and Mike Mussina were elected along with Mariano Rivera in the 2019 BBWAA vote.

The ballot: Bobby Abreu, Josh Beckett, Heath Bell, Barry Bonds, Eric Chavez, Roger Clemens, Adam Dunn, Chone Figgins, Rafael Furcal, Jason Giambi, Todd Helton, Raul Ibanez, Derek Jeter, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Paul Konerko, Cliff Lee, Carlos Pena, Brad Penny, Andy Pettitte, J.J. Putz, Manny Ramirez, Brian Roberts, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Alfonso SorianoSammy SosaJose Valverde, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker.

Pena to Host Nickelodeon’s Summer Game Show “Web Heads”

It’s game on for Carlos Pena

The 24-year-old Spanish, Venezuelan and Dominican American singer-songwriter/actor and Big Time Rush member, who married actress Alex Vega earlier this year, will serve as the host on Nickelodeon‘s new Ryan Seacrest-backed game show.

Carlos Pena

The Big Time Rush television series alum will lead the competition series, which revolves around child contestants competing in challenges centered on viral videos, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

The 40-episode summer game show, formerly titled Go Viral, will now be called Web Heads.

Production on the half-hour, studio-based show will begin next week.

“I grew up on Nickelodeon game shows and always dreamed of being a contestant,” said Pena in a statement to THR. “I’m excited to be doing something fun and unique that captures the heart and slime of Nick.”

The new job keeps Pena in the Nickelodeon family, where he was a lead in the music comedy series Big Time Rush from 2009 to 2013.

He recently wrapped production on George Lopez’s indie La Vida Robot, based on a Wired article about four undocumented Mexican-American high school students who form a robotics club and compete against MIT in a national robotics competition.

Rays Star Peña Hits Game-Winning RBI Against Yankees

Earlier this year, the Tampa Bay Rays brought Carlos Peña back to the team with a lucrative one-year contract… Well, it looks like it was money well spent!

In the team’s season-opening game against the New York Yankees, the 33-year-old Dominican baseball star not only hit a grand slam against Yankees ace CC Sabathia, but he hit a game-winning RBI against closer Mariano Rivera.

Carlos Pena

“Your heart starts racing in that moment and you try to control yourself as much as possible,” Peña said. “I tried to slow myself down and breathe and take it one pitch at a time, as easy as you can possibly make it. Instead of building the situation up you try to bring it down.”

Peña’s spectacular hitting lifted the Rays to a thrilling 7-6 victory over the Yankees on Friday. In all, he finished 3 for 5 with five RBIs in his return to the Rays after a year with the Chicago Cubs. All that after a spring in which he hit .107 and struggled so much that manager Joe Maddon initially penciled him into the No. 7 spot in the batting order for the opener before shifting the slugger into the sixth spot.

Peña, who was 0 for 11 lifetime against Rivera, won it by driving a 1-2 pitch off the base of the wall in left-center field for his fifth RBI of the game.

“He’s the greatest closer in the history of the game and we all know that,” Pena said of Rivera. “He has that illusion in his ball. You swing where the ball is at and it’s not there anymore. He has perplexed hitters throughout his career. He’s the best closer in baseball, and that’s for a reason.”

Earlier in the game, Peña brought the sellout crowd of 34,078 to its feet in the bottom of the first inning when he sent a 3-2 pitch into the right-field stands for his eighth career grand slam.

Gomez Leads the Latino Pack of Kids’ Choice Award Nominees…

So what do Selena Gomez, Sofia Vergara and Victoria Justice have in common? They all run the risk of being slimed this spring!

Nickelodeon has announced the nominees for 25th Annual Kids’ Choice Awards with some of today’s biggest Latino and Latina stars gettin’ some serious love from the tween set.

Selena Gomez

Gomez leads the Latino pack with two nods. The 19-year-old half-Mexican American singer/actress is nominated for Favorite TV Actress for her work on Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place, as well as in the Favorite Female Singer category.

Here’s a look at this year’s Latino/a nominees:

Favorite TV Actress
Selena Gomez
Victoria Justice

Favorite Movie Actress
Sofia Vergara (The Smurfs)

Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie
Antonio Banderas (Puss in Boots)

Favorite Music Group
Big Time Rush (with Carlos Peña)
Black Eyed Peas (with Fergie)

Favorite Male Singer
Bruno Mars

Favorite Female Singer
Selena Gomez

Favorite Buttkicker
Jessica Alba

Fans will have the chance to vote for their favorite stars beginning March 1 on Nick.com, as well as via Facebook and Twitter.

The 2012 Kids’ Choice Awards will be handed out on March 31 in Los Angeles.

Peña Returning to Tampa Bay Rays…

It appears Carlos Peña will be making his triumphant return to Tampa Bay next season…

The 33-year-old Dominican baseball star has reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year contract with a Tampa Bay Rays valued at $7.25 million, according to CBS Sports.

Carlos Pena

“Soooo excited …. !!!!!” Pena said in a text message sent to the Tampa Bay Times.

The All-Star first baseman—who claimed the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2007—played arguably some of his best baseball during his previous four-year stint with Tampa.

In 2007 he hit .282/.411/.627 with 46 home runs and 121 RBI. In 2009 he hit .227/.356/.537 while leading the American League in home runs with 39 and earning his first All-Star appearance.

Peña left Tampa Bay after the 2010 season and signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. He has also played for the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics.

Pena hit .225/.357/.463 with 28 home runs and 80 RBI last season in his first year with the Cubs.

Over the course of his 11-year career he has averaged 34 home runs and 96 RBI per 162 games.

The deal, which has not been officially announced, is pending a physical.

Pena’s Big-Time Cowboys Performance…

Enrique Iglesias isn’t the only Latino celebrity performing live at the Dallas Cowboys game this holiday. Nickelodeon star Carlos Pena and his fellow Big Time Rush band members made a special appearance at the big Thanksgiving Day game.

Before the start of the Cowboys’ game against the Miami Dolphins, Big Time Rush’s Pena, James Maslow, Logan Henderson and Kendall Schmidt performed the national anthem to perfection at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

Big Time Rush Carlos Pena

“It’s American’s team,” said Schmidt to MTV.com, while Maslow added, “Every American is a Cowboys fan.”

But the 22-year-old  half-Dominican, half-Venezuelan Pena isn’t so sure who to root for…

“I like Miami and the Dolphins; they’re my home team,” explained Pena. “But the Cowboys gave me this job to sing the National Anthem, so, who do you go with?”

Its part of a big-time month for the stars of the hit Nickelodeon show. Not only did they recently wrap shooting their feature film Big Time Movie, they also just released their sophomore album, Elevated, this Monday.

Meantime, the group plans to take their act on the road for their “Better With U” Tour—the band’s first United States tour—in February.