Ronald Acuña Jr. Signs with Bad Bunny’s Rimas Sports for Representation

Ronald Acuña Jr. has new all-star representation…

Rimas Sports — an agency partnership between Bad Bunny and executives Noah Assad and Jonathan Miranda — has signed the Venezuelan professional baseball outfielder who plays for the Atlanta Braves to an exclusive representation agreement.

Ronald Acuña Jr., Rimas Sports, Bad Bunny,“We are thrilled to welcome the Acuña family to Rimas Sports,” Miranda, CEO of Rimas Sports, said in a statement. “Ronald is a once-in-a-generation player, and we are confident that together we will take his extraordinary career to new heights. Acuña is aligned with Rimas Sports’ foundational principle of empowering the next generation of Latin American players by helping them build lasting legacies for themselves, their families, and their communities.”

The renowned athlete kicked off his career with Braves organization in 2014 and made his MLB debut in 2018 when he nabbed the Rookie of the Year title.

In 2023, the four-time MLB All-Star was named the 2023 National League Most Valuable Player in his sixth major-league season, marking the eighth time a Braves player has nabbed the title after Freddie Freeman (2020), Chipper Jones (1999), Terry Pendleton (1991), Dale Murphy (1982, 1983), Hank Aaron (1957), Robert Elliott (1947) and Johnny Evers (1914).

A press statement at the time noted that Acuña “was a unanimous selection, receiving 30 of 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He finished with 420 points, 150 more than runner-up Mookie Betts.”

To celebrate his new MVP title, award-winning Mexican-American producer Samuel Ash dropped “La Bestia,” a catchy dembow song performed by Dominican artist Niko Eme.

“We wanted something that felt global and to do something we could put a chant to,” Ash previously told Billboard. “I know dembow is a Dominican genre but I felt that it could still feel global and resonate with him as a Venezuelan.”

Young Miko Announces XOXO Tour 2024 Across United States

Young Miko is ready to trek across America.

He 25-year-old Puerto Rican rapper, singer-songwriter and former footballer, whose real name is María Victoria Ramírez de Arellano Cardona, has announced plans for her XOXO Tour 2024 in support of her debut album Att., which she released just three weeks ago.

Young Miko,Her nearly 20-date headlining tour will kick off on July 31 in Denver, Colorado, at the Fillmore Auditorium, and will make stops major cities such as Los Angeles; Austin, Texas; New York City; Boston; and Atlanta before concluding in Hollywood, Fla., on Sept. 11 at the Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.

The news follows her recent Coachella debut performance, which took place on April 12 and 19, where she featured a gigantic boombox center stage.

In announcing the trek, she shared an Instagram reel in which the Puerto Rican rapper — who is rocking baggy blue pants and a pink long-sleeve shirt — takes a portable ghetto blaster to a graffiti-decorated alleyway. The camera pans to a fire hydrant emblazoned with the tag “XOXO Tour 2024” to announce the trek.

Miko’s forthcoming tour backs her new 16-track album, which features songs such as “Rookie of the Year,” “ID” and “Curita.” It debuted in the top 10 of the Top Latin Albums and Latin Rhythm Albums charts.

She also reeled in collaborators such as Feid, Jowell & Randy, Elena Rose, Villano Antillano and Dei V for the album.

Tickets will be available starting with an artist presale on Wednesday, May 1 at 10 a.m. local time. Additional presales will run throughout ahead of the general onsale on Friday (May 3) at 10 a.m. local time via LiveNation.com.

Here are the full tour dates:

7/31   Denver, Colo.                     Fillmore Auditorium
8/3     Wheatland, Calif.              Hard Rock Live Sacramento
8/6     San José, Calif.                 San Jose Civic
8/9     Phoenix, Ariz.                    Arizona Financial Theatre
8/10   Las Vegas, Nev.                 Fontainebleau Las Vegas
8/12   San Diego, Calif.                Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre
8/15   Los Angeles, Calif.             Peacock Theater *
8/19   Austin, Texas                      Moody Amphitheater
8/20   Houston, Texas                  Smart Financial Centre
8/21   Irving, Texas                       The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
8/24   Rosemont, Ill.                     Rosemont Theatre
8/27   New York, N.Y.                    The Theater at Madison Square Garden
8/30   Bridgeport, Conn.              Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater
8/31   Philadelphia, Pa.                 The Met
9/1     Boston, Mass.                      Leader Bank Pavilion
9/4     Washington, D.C.                The Theater at MGM National Harbor
9/6     Atlanta, Ga.                          Coca-Cola Roxy
9/7     Orlando, Fla.                         Hard Rock Live
9/11   Hollywood, Fla.                    Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood

Jonathan India Agrees to Two-Year Contract with Cincinnati Reds to Avoid Arbitration

Jonathan India is staying red

The 27-year-old half-Colombian American baseball player, a second baseman, has agreed to a two-year contract with the Cincinnati Reds, avoiding an arbitration hearing next week for the 2021 National League Rookie of the Year.

Jonathan India,Selected fifth overall by Cincinnati in the 2018 amateur draft, India has hit .255 with 48 homers, 171 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .350 in parts of three seasons.

Eligible for arbitration for the first time, India asked for a raise from $760,000 to $4 million and the Reds offered $3.2 million when the sides exchanged proposed arbitration salaries last month.

Along with India, the Reds will have to find playing time for young players Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Spencer Steer, Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Noelvi Marte.

In addition, infielder Jeimer Candelario signed as a free agent.

Patricio “Pato” O’Ward Signs with Range Media Partners

Patricio “Pato” O’Ward is expanding his Range

The 24-year-old Mexican professional auto racer, who competes full-time in the IndyCar Series, has signed with Range Media Partners.

Patricio “Pato” O’WardThe signing comes off the heels of the recent announcement that O’Ward, the Arrow McLaren driver, was named a Formula One Reserve Driver for McLaren F1 for the upcoming 2024 season.

As he speeds towards his racing dreams, Range will be helping O’Ward further expand his media repertoire, building out a larger brand partnerships strategy and a content business across television and film.

Originally from Mexico, O’Ward grew up in San Antonio where he started his racing journey karting at the age of 6.

Seven years later, he began competing in open-wheel racing, including the LATAM Formula 2000, Formula Renault 1.6 NEC and Pacific Formula F2000.

He is the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship champion in the Prototype Challenge class, a two-time class winner at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and a Prototype Challenge class winner at the Twelve Hours of Sebring.

In 2018, O’Ward was named Rookie of the Year after becoming the Indy NXT by Firestone champion (previously known as Indy Lights).

O’Ward had a strong 2023 IndyCar season, including his best starting position to date in the 2023 Indianapolis 500, ultimately finishing fourth in the championship with the most podium finishes (seven) and top five finishes of his career. This success allowed O’Ward to qualify for his FIA Super License, which coupled with his strong performance in the new McLaren Driver Development Programme, helped pave the way for his recent promotion to McLaren’s reserve driver pool for 2024.

Ronald Acuna Jr. Wins National League’s Most Valuable Player Award in Unanimous Fashion

Ronald Acuna Jr. is the unanimous choice…

The 25-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player, an outfielder for the Atlanta Braves, has been named the Most Valuable Player of Major League Baseball’s National League, in unanimous fashion no less.

Ronald Acuña Jr.,In the American League, Shohei Ohtani was the unanimous choice for MVP.

Acuna and Ohtani’s unanimous wins are historic, since it’s an unprecedented occurrence in the 92-year history of the award.

Acuna beat out Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who came in second on all 30 ballots.

A force at the leadoff spot for a fearsome Braves lineup, Acuna combined 41 home runs with an NL-leading 73 stolen bases, easily becoming the first ever member of the 40-70 club.

He also led the NL in on-base percentage (.416), OPS (1.012), hits (217) and runs scored (149). His .337 batting average trailed only Miami Marlins second baseman Luis Arraez (.354) for the major league lead.

Acuna did not attend his scheduled conference call with BBWAA members because he debuted for the Tiburones de La Guaira of the Venezuelan winter league shortly after claiming the award. The game was pushed back an hour to accommodate the announcement.

Acuna won the NL Rookie of the Year Award during his age-20 season in 2018 — Ohtani won the AL version that year — and finished fifth in NL MVP voting during his age-21 season in 2019, clearly establishing himself as one of the most dynamic forces in the sport. But he suffered a torn ACL in the middle of the 2021 season, forcing him to merely watch from the dugout while his Braves teammates won a championship later that fall. The following year, he was admittedly not himself. The explosiveness that helped elevate him to stardom was lacking. His timing in the batter’s box was off.

Acuna spent the ensuing offseason working diligently on his conditioning and trained with Fernando Tatis Sr., father of his good friend Fernando Tatis Jr., on slightly lowering his hands to lessen some of the moving parts in his swing and get his bat through the zone more quickly. Through six months of baseball’s regular season, Acuna’s OPS never fell below .900.

Acuna’s stolen-base total was aided by new rules that introduced a pitch clock, increased the size of bases and limited the number of pitcher disengagements, but he hit 13 more home runs than the next-closest player ever to 70 stolen bases and stole 27 more bases than the next-closest player ever to 40 home runs.

“I don’t know what to say — just super excited, happy,” Acuna, surrounded by family and friends in his native Venezuela, told MLB Network in Spanish. “Hopefully, by the grace of God, I can have an even better year next year than the one I just had.”

Ronald Acuna Jr. Named a National League MVP Finalist

Ronald Acuna Jr. has landed on the MVP finals list…

The 25-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player and Atlanta Braves outfielder is among the finalists for the National League MVP award, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced in a show televised on MLB Network.

Ronald Acuña Jr.,Acuña had a record-breaking season for the Braves, becoming the first player to finish a season with 40 home runs and 70 stolen bases.

The other two finalists for the award include former Braves star Freddie Freeman and his Los Angeles Dodgers teammate, Mookie Betts.

Boston Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas is among the American League Rookie of the Year finalists include Baltimore shortstop Gunnar Henderson and Cleveland right-hander Tanner Bibee.

The AL Cy Young Award will come down to three right-handers vying for their first plaque: the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, Toronto Blue Jays’ Kevin Gausman and Minnesota Twins’ Sonny Gray, who officially hit free agency at 5:00 pm ET on Monday.

In the NL, left-hander Blake Snell — also a free agent — is the favorite to win his second Cy Young, while San Francisco’s Logan Webb and Zac Gallen of NL champion Arizona are seeking their first.

Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll is the distinct favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year and is a finalist alongside New York Mets right-hander Kodai Senga and Dodgers outfielder James Outman.

The final BBWAA award, Manager of the Year, is headlined in the NL by Craig Counsell, who was hired away Monday from Milwaukee by the Chicago Cubs. He’s opposed by Atlanta’s Brian Snitker and the favorite, Miami manager Skip Schumaker, who led the Marlins to the postseason despite a -57 run differential.

The AL slate is led by Rangers manager Bruce Bochy — who last won the award in 1996 — along with two-time winner Kevin Cash of Tampa Bay and Baltimore’s Brandon Hyde, who led the Orioles to a 101-win season and the AL East title.

Rookie of the Year results will be announced next week, with Manager of the Year on November 14, Cy Young on November 15 and MVP on November 16.

Los Angeles Dodgers Retire Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34 Jersey

Fernando Valenzuela has received a special honor for the Los Angeles Dodgers

The team retired the 62-year-old Mexican former professional baseball pitcher’s No. 34 jersey on Friday night before hosting the Colorado Rockies. His number was cut into the center-field grass and stenciled in white on the back of the mound.

Fernando Valenzuela“It’s very emotional,” Valenzuela told a crowded room of English and Spanish-language media before the ceremony. “I never expected it.”

Retired pitcher and current broadcaster Orel Hershiser and retired Dodger Manny Mota lifted off a blue cloth to reveal Valenzuela’s number high above the field.

Fans, some wearing sombreros, were on their feet cheering, along with Valenzuela’s children and grandchildren. He held hands with wife Linda as they walked down the left-field line to watch the unveiling.

Earlier, a mariachi band broke out in music and song as Valenzuela was introduced and walked from the dugout to the stage set up in front of the mound.

Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, Valenzuela’s catcher Mike Scioscia, Hall of Fame broadcaster Jaime Jarrín and Dodgers pitcher Julio Urías were among those on hand.

Valenzuela and Scioscia appeared on a Topps baseball card in which they were labeled future stars. After his playing career, Scioscia managed the Los Angeles Angels.

“It seems like yesterday when this little pudgy kid who was 20 years old started Opening Day for us and lights the whole world on fire,” Scioscia told the crowd. “What you couldn’t see was the ice water in his veins. He proved how spectacular and magical everything was.”

After the ceremony, Valenzuela tossed a first pitch to Scioscia, who bobbled the catch and buried his face in his glove.

The Rockies watched from the railing in the visitor’s dugout, while some of the Dodgers were on the field warming up and a few looked on from the dugout.

Earlier in the day, Valenzuela was in downtown Los Angeles, where the city council declared it “Fernando Valenzuela Day.”

The activities were part of a weekend celebration of one of the most enduring and popular players in Dodgers history. Valenzuela was the theme of the postgame drone show.

On Saturday, the team is giving away his bobblehead and on Sunday, the giveaway is a replica of Valenzuela’s 1981 World Series ring.

Valenzuela became a sensation that year. Besides winning the World Series, he won Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young Award, the first player to do so in the same year.

He was named the Opening Day starter that year by manager Tommy Lasorda after Jerry Reuss got hurt a day earlier. He responded with a 2-0 victory over Houston, beginning the season with an 8-0 record, including five shutouts, and an 0.50 ERA.

“Tommy Lasorda came up to me and said, ‘Are you ready to pitch tomorrow?’ I said, ‘I’m ready,'” Valenzuela recalled. “That’s what I was looking for, the opportunity to show what I can do.”

Valenzuela’s pitching motion — glancing skyward at the apex of each windup — was a hit, too. His signature pitch was the screwball, taught to him by teammate Bobby Castillo in 1979.

During his warmups, ABBA‘s hit “Fernando” blared from the speakers.

The native of Mexico was credited for drawing large numbers of Latino fans to Dodger Stadium and they nicknamed him “El Toro” — the Bull. He proved a huge draw on the road as well.

His number joins previous honorees Pee Wee Reese, Lasorda, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam, Don Sutton, Walter Alston, Koufax, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Don Drysdale and Hall of Fame broadcasters Vin Scully and Jarrín.

Jarrín “helped me a lot early in my career talking to you guys,” Valenzuela said, referring to the translation the broadcaster did for English-speaking media.

Besides Lasorda and Jarrín, Valenzuela also credited Mike Brito, the scout who in Mexico found the left-handed pitcher, for boosting his career. Brito died last year at age 87.

Valenzuela also won the 1988 World Series with the Dodgers, as well as Silver Slugger awards in 1981 and 1983. He pitched for the team from 1980 to 1990, including a no-hitter on June 29, 1990. He retired in 1997.

Valenzuela has stayed close to the franchise. He is the color commentator on the Spanish-language broadcasts for its SportsNet LA cable channel.

He remains among the franchise leaders in wins (141), strikeouts (1,759), innings pitched (2,348⅔), starts (320), complete games (107) and shutouts (29).

Valenzuela became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2015.

Julio Rodriguez Planning to Compete at This Year’s Home Run Derby

Julio Rodriguez is throwing his bat in the ring…

The 22-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, a Seattle Mariners‘ star outfielder, has committed to the Home Run Derby, which will take place in his home city leading up to this year’s MLB All-Star Game.

Julio RodriguezRodriguez announced his decision through a video on social media, becoming the first player to say that he will take part in the event.

He later told reporters that he’s excited to be part of a derby in Seattle.

“This probably will never happen again in my career — being able to do that for them at the home field definitely will be something that I’m looking forward to,” he said. “I’m definitely going to try to do my best for them.”

Rodriguez shined as a rookie in last year’s event, electrifying the Dodger Stadium crowd with a stirring performance that saw him finish as the runner-up to Juan Soto.

Now 22, Rodriguez went on to sign a lucrative long-term extension, lead the Mariners to their first postseason appearance in more than 20 years and win the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

“I know LA was cool. I enjoyed it,” Rodríguez said. “But being able to be at home and put on a show for the Mariners’ fans, I know it’s going to be really exciting.”

The Home Run Derby, a bracket-style event with timed rounds featuring eight participants, will take place July 10 at T-Mobile Park in Seattle and will air on ESPN. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts recently told MLB Network he’d also take part if selected as part of the National League All-Star team, a near certainty given his .260/.359/.502 slash line.

Rodriguez is off to a slow start for a Mariners team that sits a game below .500 and is currently out of the playoff picture, batting .238/.300/.415 with 12 home runs and 16 stolen bases. But he ranks within the top 10% in average exit velocity.

Los Angeles Dodgers to Retire Fernando Valenzuela’s Jersey Number

It’s a special retirement for Fernando Valenzuela.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will retire the No. 34 jersey of the 62-year-old Mexican former professional baseball pitcher during a three-day celebration this summer.

Fernando Valenzuela,He’ll become the first Latino player to have his number retired by the Dodgers.

Valenzuela was part of two World Series champion teams, winning the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards. He was a six-time MLB All-Star during his 11 seasons in Los Angeles from 1980-90.

He’ll be honored from August 11-13 when the Dodgers host Colorado.

Valenzuela will join Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam, Don Sutton, Walter Alston, Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson and Don Drysdale with retired numbers.

“To be a part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” Valenzuela said. “But also for the fans, the support they’ve given me as a player and working for the Dodgers, this is also for them.”

Carlos Beltran Among 14 Newcomers on MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

Carlos Beltran is in the running for a special place in Major League Baseball history…

The 45-year-old Puerto Rican former professional baseball player is among 14 newcomers on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America‘s MLB Hall of Fame ballot.

Carlos BeltranBeltran played as an outfielder from 1998 to 2017 for the Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers.

Beltrán was the American League (AL) Rookie of the Year in 1999 while with the Royals. He was named to nine MLB All-Star Games and won three Gold Glove Awards and two Silver Slugger Awards.

Beltrán was the fifth player to reach both 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases and just the fourth switch hitter with 400 home runs. He has the highest success rate in stealing bases (88.3%) of any major league player with 300 or more career attempts. He also joined the 30–30 club in 2004. In 2013, Beltrán was named the recipient of the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award. He retired after the 2017 season, winning a World Series title with the Astros.

Other players appearing on the ballot for the first time include John Lackey, Jered Weaver, R.A. Dickey, Huston Street, Francisco Rodríguez, Bronson Arroyo and Matt Cain. They’re joined by Jacoby Ellsbury, Jayson Werth, Mike Napoli, J.J. Hardy, Jhonny Peralta and Andre Ethier, the Hall and the BBWAA announced.

Holdovers include Scott Rolen, Todd Helton and Billy Wagner. Rolen received 249 of 394 votes last year (63.2%), when David Ortiz was elected with 307 votes (77.9%), 11 more than the 75% needed. Helton was on 205 ballots (52%) and Wagner 201 (51%).

Voters denied several stars tainted by steroids and scandal.

Barry Bonds (260 votes, 66%), Roger Clemens (257, 65.2%) and Curt Schilling (231, 58.6%) were dropped after their 10th appearances on the ballot last year and are among eight players who will appear on the ballot of the Hall’s contemporary baseball era committee, which meets December 4 in San Diego ahead of baseball’s winter meetings.

Other holdovers on the BBWAA ballot include Andruw Jones (163 votes last year, 41.1%), Gary Sheffield (160, 40.6%), Alex Rodriguez (135, 34.3%), Jeff Kent (129, 32.7%), Manny Ramirez (114, 28.9%), Omar Vizquel (94, 23.9%), Andy Pettitte (42, 10.7%), Jimmy Rollins (37, 9.4%), Bobby Abreu (34, 8.6%), Mark Buehrle (23, 5.8%) and Torii Hunter (21, 5.3%).

Kent, who received his highest percentage last year, will appear on the BBWAA ballot for the 10th and final time.

BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of membership are eligible to vote. Ballots must be postmarked by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Any players elected will be inducted into the Hall at Cooperstown on July 23 along with anyone elected by the contemporary baseball era committee.

A-Rod, a three-time MLB MVP and 14-time MLB All-Star who hit 696 home runs, was suspended for the 2014 season for violating MLB’s drug policy and collective bargaining agreement, and Ortiz’s name was alleged to have appeared on a list of players who tested positive during 2003 survey testing.