Dodgers’ Kiké Hernandez embraces ‘Rally Banana’ fame

first_imgKiké Hernandez has a full-body banana suit hanging from his locker stall. It’s a gift from the Del Monte banana company; Hernandez has the letter to prove it.On May 26, the official Twitter account of Chiquita Brands International (@Chiquita) congratulated Hernandez for using a banana to rally the Dodgers to victory over the Atlanta Braves.What began, then, as a baseball player holding a banana in the dugout has morphed into an internet meme and now a corporate bidding war, waged in tweets and costumes if not actual money.This is how a 23-year-old utility player has made a name for himself in his first two months with the Dodgers. And for good reason, too: How many professional athletes can claim the attention of two multinational agribusiness corporations? Beneath the fruit and fervor, Hernandez has proven himself a pretty good baseball player — more than just a throw-in to the trade that sent Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to the Miami Marlins.When Howie Kendrick missed three straight games with a left knee injury last week, Hernandez slipped out of his usual super-utility role and into the starting second baseman’s job. He went 5 for 13 at the plate and played errorless defense. In 56 innings at five different positions, Hernandez has only committed one error this season. He’s batting a respectable .269, an average that jumps to .348 with runners on base.At some level, this might bother a man: You’re doing your job pretty well and yet are best known for a banana meme?“I don’t really care,” Hernandez said. “If I wasn’t doing what I’m doing on the field, I wouldn’t like this.” The 23-year-old admits that his threshold for embarrassment is high, so embracing the banana meme isn’t hard. The knobs of Hernandez’s bats now have a sticker featuring the words “Rally Banana” and a fan-made drawing to match. Dodgers clubhouse attendant Mitch Poole ordered them at Hernandez’s request.If the measure of a player’s personality is the knob of his bat, Hernandez is in rare company.David Sulecki, owner of the Pro Helmet Decals company in Ocala, Florida, said most players ask for their number on their stickers. The Giants’ Matt Duffy asked for an image of the Simpsons character “Duffman.” Atlanta Braves outfielder Jonny Gomes asked for an image of the Loch Ness Monster.Hernandez asked for the Rally Banana.“I already knew about the ‘Rally Banana’,” Sulecki said.Lesser known is that the Dodgers carried a four-man bench for much of April and May, one fewer than most National League teams. To an extent, Hernandez’s versatility on defense — he claims to be able to play all nine positions — makes this possible. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said it helps that Justin Turner and Alex Guerrero can play multiple positions as well.The job is not glamorous. Utility players rarely gain notice for what they do on the field. In that regard, Hernandez isn’t alone.“I’m sure he hates to be labeled as a utility player,” Dodgers first base coach Davey Lopes said of Hernandez.This is not true. If there’s something about baseball or bananas that Hernandez does not like, the world hasn’t discovered it yet.“People liking (the Rally Banana) comes with what I do on the field,” he said. “At least they know me for something good.”Dodgers draft completeThe amateur draft concluded Wednesday with rounds 11-40. Among the notable names the Dodgers drafted: Upland High School pitcher Christopher Powell, the son of former Dodgers pitcher Dennis Powell (39th round), and Cal Poly Pomona and Chino Hills High School graduate Kyle Garlick (28th round).The Dodgers made 42 overall picks, including selecting 25 pitchers (22 right-handers, three left-handers), five outfielders, six infielders (one first baseman, three second basemen, two shortstops) and six catchers. Thirty-three were selected from the college ranks, while nine were drafted from high school.Four of the Dodgers’ first five picks were pitchers, too, which contradicted the expectation of amateur scouting director Billy Gasparino.“We tried to target hitters this year,” Gasparino said. “We went and scouted them a lot, both on the high school and college end. We were wrong. We thought it was going to fall to us that way. It just didn’t.”Gasparino said he realistically expects to sign 30 or more of the 42 picks.AlsoBrandon League (shoulder) threw a scoreless inning for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, striking out three. … Pitcher Joel Peralta (triceps) is expected to throw an inning for Rancho Cucamonga today. … Pitchers Pedro Baez (strained right pectoral) and Brandon Beachy (elbow) have not set a date for their rehab assignments yet.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Olympics: Flame lit for troubled Rio Games

first_imgThe Olympic torch will be handed over to Brazilian officials on Wednesday in a ceremony at the historic all-marble Olympic stadium in Athens, site of the first modern Games in 1896.The torch harks back to the ancient Olympics, when a sacred flame burned throughout the Games. The tradition was revived in 1936 for the Berlin Games.Brazil’s preparations have been overshadowed by the government crisis caused by accusations that Rousseff juggled government accounts to disguise budget shortfalls during her 2014 reelection.The beleaguered president insisted this week that Rio’s preparations are ahead of schedule.“The Games are in a totally adequate situation, we’re even a little ahead of schedule and more so than we had planned for,” Rousseff said Tuesday.– ‘Big party’ will banish problems -“(In terms) of the organisation of the Games everything was done…I don’t think it’s really a problem for the Games,” said Leyser.He said that in true Brazilian tradition, there will be a “big party” and “people (will) forget the other problems.”Bach on Wednesday said he was confident that Rio would lay on an “excellent Games”.“Ninety-eight percent of all infrastructure is ready, the test events are going successfully…we are just full of anticipation to come to Brazil,” he told reporters on Thursday.The IOC and Rio organisers have played down crime concerns and fears over the quality of water in Rio bay to be used for yachting and some swimming.“We are very confident that the competition area will offer safe and fair conditions,” Bach said this week.There have also been travel warnings and athlete cancellations over the Zika virus that is believed to potentially cause serious birth defects if contracted by pregnant women.Greek Olympic Committee chairman Spyros Kapralos said Brazil would pull through, much like Athens overcame chronic delays before it hosted the 2004 Games.“I think like we had in Athens, the same will happen in Rio, everything will come together and we will experience a fantastic Games,” he said.Share on: WhatsApp ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece | AFP |The Olympic flame was lit Thursday in an ancient temple in one country in crisis and solemnly sent off carrying international hopes that Brazil’s political paralysis will not taint the Rio Games that start in barely 100 days.As the flame was kindled in the 2,600-year-old Temple of Hera at Ancient Olympia, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach and Rio organisers sought to rally support.Bach said the Rio Games will be held “in a world shaken by crises” but hailed preparations for the first Olympics in South America.“Brazilian people will enthusiastically welcome the world and amaze us with their joy of life and their passion for sport,” he predicted.“Despite the difficulties that Brazil is facing today, the flame is a timeless reminder that we are all part of the same humanity,” Bach said.Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff cancelled her attendance as she battles threatened impeachment proceedings.In her place, Rio 2016 organising committee chairman, Carlos Nuzman, said the flame “brings a message that can and will unite, our dear Brazil.”“Brazil is ready,” Brazil’s acting sports minister Ricardo Leyser told reporters after the ceremony.Setting off from a country at the forefront of Europe’s migrant crisis, the flame will tour Greece and then go to scores of Brazilian cities arriving at Rio’s Maracana Stadium for the August 5 opening ceremony.After giving thanks to the ancient Greek sun god Apollo, high priestess Katerina Lechou, a prominent Greek actress, handed the flame to the first relay runner, Greece’s gymnastics world champion Lefteris Petrounias.– Refugee torch-bearer -Petrounias passed it to Brazilian volleyball legend Giovane Gavio, an Olympic champion at the 1992 Barcelona and 2004 Athens Games.Overall, some 12,000 torchbearers will carry the flame through Brazil.In a gesture to the migration crisis, a Syrian man who lost a leg in his country’s civil war will carry the torch through the Eleonas refugee camp in Athens next Tuesday.The man, whose is to be named Friday, has been living and working in Athens since being granted asylum in Greece.last_img read more

City trio, Salah, Kane nominated for Player of the Year

first_imgDe Bruyne is expected to be City’s leading candidate having contributed a league-high 15 assists and seven goals from midfield as Pep Guardiola’s have marched towards the title. 2364, United Kingdom | AFP | Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane and David Silva lead a six-strong cast that also includes the prolific Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane for the 2017-18 Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award.Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is the other nominee.Despite blowing the chance to seal the Premier League title in a thrilling 3-2 derby defeat to Manchester United last weekend, City still boast a 13-point lead at the top of the table heading into Saturday’s match against Tottenham. However, the Belgian may be beaten to the award by Salah’s free-scoring form.The Egyptian has scored 39 times in all competitions, including in each leg as Liverpool dumped City out of the Champions League quarter-finals 5-1 on aggregate.Salah leads the way in the race for the Premier League golden boot with 29 goals to Kane’s 25.Sane and Kane are also on the shortlist for the Young Player of the Year award alongside City goalkeeper Ederson and forward Raheem Sterling, Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford and left-back Ryan Sessegnon, who has starred in Fulham’s push for promotion from the Championship.center_img Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

British lawmakers delay vote on Brexit deal

first_imgBritish lawmakers have voted to postpone a vote on the terms of the UK’s departure from the European Union.In a dramatic Saturday sitting of the parliament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to secure enough backing to hold a vote on the Brexit deal he negotiated in Brussels on Thursday.In a 322-306 vote, British lawmakers agreed to revisit the proposed Brexit deal next week.Prime Minister Johnson says he will still try to meet his deadline at the of this month.However, he may have to ask the EU for an extension beyond the October 31st deadline if British lawmakers continue to withhold their approval.The move comes after lawmakers backed a motion to rule out a no-deal exit during a rare Saturday sitting of the parliament.last_img

FL couple ‘wins a baby’ in radio contest after struggling with infertility

first_imgOnly in Florida!A Cape Coral couple struggling with fertility have a DJ and radio contest to thank for the newest addition to their daily.A radio DJ in Cape Coral created the “Win a Baby” contest, which gives one local couple the chance to win a free round of in vitro fertilization (IVF).The radio DJ, Jason “Big Mama” Jones created the contest because he and his wife struggled with infertility in the past.Krista and Anthony River were the lucky couple to win the free round of IVF, CBS News reports.The couple struggled with infertility after Anthony was diagnosed with cancer for a second time.The Riveras won the contest in 2017, and they now have a three-month-old son named Garrett.About one in eight couples have trouble conceiving or sustaining a pregnancy, according to a national statistic.The most common alternative for these couples is IVF treatment, which costs an average of $23,000 per cycle and is not covered by insurance in most cases.An IVF cycle includes medicines, procedures, anesthesia, ultrasounds, blood tests, lab work, and embryo storage.This year’s “Win a Baby” contest winners are currently undergoing IVF treatment and hope to start their family soon, according to reports.The radio station reportedly plans to continue the contest once a year.last_img read more

Boca Raton woman kidnapped, robbed by couple outside Publix

first_imgAn investigation is underway after a woman was kidnapped and robbed in Boca Raton on Tuesday.Police say the victim was approached by a woman asking for help outside a Publix Super Market in Boca Raton.The woman told the victim she was new to the area and was looking for an attorney’s office.The victim then followed the woman to a van and got inside the car.As soon as the victim entered the vehicle, a man locked the doors and demanded money, officials say.After the kidnapping, the suspects drove the victim to a Broward County Publix, where they told her to go inside and call someone to have money sent, or they would kill her.The woman then called relative and had money wired to her.Once the kidnappers received the money, they released the victim unharmed, police said.The two suspects are still at large.Police describe the female suspect as Hispanic with dirty blonde hair who is about 45 to 50 years old, 5 feet 8 inches with a heavy build.She was reportedly wearing ripped blue jeans and a white shirt with gold hoop earrings, and her hair was in a ponytail.The male suspect is described by police as Hispanic, 45 to 50-years-old, 5 feet 2 inches with a slim build and dark hair.He was reportedly wearing a blue windbreaker with a V-neck shirt underneath and black pants.The vehicle used in the case may be a tan Honda Odyssey.Anyone with information is asked to call the Boca Raton Police Department.last_img read more

Expensive Banana Art Basel Eaten by “Hungry Artist”

first_imgSomebody ate a banana that sold for six figures at Art Basel in Miami over the weekend.Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan duct-taped a banana to the wall at an art exhibition in Miami Beach and called it “Comedian.”It sold for $120-thousand bucks to a French art collector.On Saturday, a New York artist walked up to the art installation and ate the banana.Performance artist David Datuna named his stunt, “Hungry Artist.”He slipped away before security could arrive. The museum’s director said the banana will be replaced.last_img

Major flight delays at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Int’l Airport after flash flooding

first_imgCheck with your airline if you are flying out of FLL Monday morning.As of 7 a.m., there are no delays at Palm Beach or Miami International airports. The National Weather Service issued a “Urban and Small Stream Flood Advisory” for North Miami-Dade and South Broward County. Some locations experiencing flooding include… Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Hallandale, Aventura and Dania Beach.The flash flood caused the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport to close for a few hours and cancel flights.Airport officials say the airport is back open and flights are resuming Monday morning, however, there are 123 flight delays and six cancellations, as of 8 a.m. A total of 6 inches of rain flooded areas near the airport since midnight so expect traffic delays.  Roads are slick from the overnight rain, so drivers should be aware and careful driving this morning.last_img read more

FHP Tracks Down Vehicle Possibly Involved in Shooting 13 Cars on Central Florida’s I-4

first_imgAuthorities are investigating reports of multiple vehicles being fired upon Wednesday on I-4 between northern Seminole County and southern Volusia County.Officials say that no one was injured, although at least 13 cars were struck. The Florida Highway Patrol announced Thursday they have located a vehicle that was possibly involved, although they did not provide details.Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood tweeted that it appeared as if a small caliber, pellet or BB gun may have been involved, although that remains unconfirmed. He does not believe it was a targeted sniper situation.One victim says his driver-side back window was struck with either a pellet or BB gun, but he did not hear anything until his window actually cracked.Multiple law enforcement agencies are now investigating the incident.last_img read more