Entertainment

Bad Bunny And Marc Anthony Will Rebuild Baseball Parks In Puerto Rico Destroyed By Hurricane María

While it’s been two years since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, the recovery efforts aren’t finishing anytime soon. Many people on the island are still trying to put their lives back together, which includes rebuilding homes, churches, and schools. What many might not know is the recovery efforts have also included revitalizing baseball fields on the island where Puerto Ricans once played. 

Among the destruction that both Hurricanes Irma and Maria left in 2017 is more than 300 small league baseball parks that were found inoperative. As a result, many community ball programs were essentially eliminated and youths on the island were essentially left in the dark without fields to play the sport.

Leading the revitalization efforts are Puerto Rico’s own two native sons: Bad Bunny and Marc Anthony. The duo, along with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a U.S. community development non-profit, has teamed up for a new program called Play Ball Again. The purpose of the initiative will be to help rebuild some of those damaged baseball fields and facilitate local programming for 17,500 youth. It is expected that in total, about 300 facilities will be impacted by this initiative. 

The duo hopes the contributions play a huge role in bringing not only baseball back to the island but a place where people can escape from their worries. 

Credit: @laguerradelbsn / Twitter

The initiative is special to both of them not only because they’re helping youth but they hoping these recovery efforts go a long way in bringing back a sense of community. Maestro Cares Foundation, which Anthony owns, is putting money towards the program with a goal of restoring “normalcy” in Puerto Rico.

“Sports and recreation activities help restore a sense of normalcy, in the wake of disasters,” Anthony, who is among the program’s earliest supporters, said in a press release.” Baseball isn’t just a game in this context. It helps young people do better in school and improves family life and health in difficult circumstances.”

Maestro Cares, along with the Good Bunny Foundation and UNICEF USA, will all be putting forth $300,000 of what LISC expects to be more than $1.6 million in baseball field renovations. Joining the efforts is Chicago Cubs second baseman Javi Baez with his Cubs Charities, which will donate an additional $100,000 in support. This also includes the Kohler Company, which made a donation to fund bathroom fixtures for onsite facilities.

“Two years after these devastating storms, the need to rebuild the island remains strong,” Báez, whose family is from the Bayamón area, said in a press release. “Cubs Charities understood the need and has stepped up to the plate to help restore baseball fields and give kids throughout Puerto Rico the opportunity to play the game. This rebuild will make a big difference for the community, and I am proud to continue my efforts to restore the island.”

The recovery efforts in Puerto Rico have been long and tiresome but the fuel behind the revitalization has always been the people. 

 Credit: UNICEF / MAESTRO CARES

While time may have passed, many on the island of Puerto Rico are still trying to get back on their feet. For Bad Bunny, he knows firsthand the power that activities like baseball have on youth. Growing up, baseball was part of his life and much of his time was spent at many of the ballparks that were destroyed in 2017. 

“Growing up on the island I spent a lot of time in some of these parks that are now destroyed,” says Bad Bunny, whose Good Bunny Foundation is part of the initiative. “In parks similar to these, a lot of great athletes like Roberto Clemente, Yadier Molina, Roberto Alomar, Edgar Martinez, and Ivan Rodriguez grew up. Our commitment is to rebuild these parks so that we can help new athletes grow. This is the first step for the rebirth of sports within the island.”

The rebirth of Puerto Rico is taking time but in that process, there is a sense that an even stronger community will come out of this disaster. While simple things like baseball may not seem significant, it’s a part of the fabric of Puerto Rico and displays the love that is shared playing on a field. This rebirth has already started as construction on the baseball field is underway and most field renovations are set for completion by the 2020 season.

READ: The Death of Four-Year-Old Noah Cuatro Has Rocked the Los Angeles Community As They Come to Grips With the Failure of Child Protective Services

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Vanessa Bryant Shared The Sweetest Throwback Photo Of Kobe For Her Daughter Natalia’s 18th Birthday

Entertainment

Vanessa Bryant Shared The Sweetest Throwback Photo Of Kobe For Her Daughter Natalia’s 18th Birthday

Stephen Dunn / Getty

Life goes on.

Almost a year after her father Kobe Bryant passed, Natalia Bryant is gearing up for college and celebrating her life in progress. On Tuesday, to celebrate her daughter’s 18th birthday, Vanessa Bryant showered her daughter with tributes and words of wisdom in an Instagram post.

Vanessa posted a handful of tributes to Natalia on Instagram, including old photos of the 18-year-old her father, Kobe.

The late LA Laker, who died last year on Jan. 26 with his 13-year-old daughter (Gianna) and several others in a tragic helicopter crash, could be seen in the photos. In one of the images, Vanessa and Kobe held baby Natalia in an image taken on the Los Angeles Lakers court.

“Daddy’s little princess, Natalia. ❤️🎉🎂🎉#18#BirthdayGirl,” Bryant captioned one of the photos.

In another post, Vanessa expressed how proud she was of the woman Natalia has become.

“Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the young lady that you are. You have displayed so much strength and grace throughout the most difficult year of our lives,” she wrote in the post. “Thank you for stepping in to help me with your little sisters. You’re such an incredible big sister and a beautiful role model to so many people. Thank you for being kind, polite and gracious in everything that you do. You have no idea how happy and proud mommy and daddy are that you’re our daughter. We love you always and forever, forever and always. Happy 18th birthday to our first born, Natalia, our principessa!”

Last week, Bryant revealed that Natalia has college on the mind.

In a separate post shared to Instagram, Vanesa revealed that her daughter has New York on the mind when it comes to getting her Bachelor’s. “NYU is one of her top schools. (@nataliabryant chose not to apply ED to her top 5 schools). I will do my best to keep her in Cali just like I kept her daddy here,” she commented.

There’s no doubt that in the wake of her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gigi’s deaths, Vanessa Bryant and her family have received quite the outpour of support from fans. Look up just about any hashtag with their names and you’ll find hundreds of thousands of images of the two deceased Bryant family members and just about as many fan accounts. The images and tributes have meant to be a eulogy to the two basketball players that lost their lives too soon.

Yet, recently Vanessa Bryant revealed that the ongoing support hasn’t always been so positive for her.

In June, Vanessa Bryant opened up about having to take action and remove herself from all the social media love she and her family have received in the five months since her husband and daughter’s deaths.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBbChSkBeuP/?utm_source=ig_embed

In a post to her Instagram page, the mother of four, sent a note to fans to let them know that she and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalia, had decided to block fan pages in an effort to keep away from the constant pictures of Kobe and Gianna popping up on their “Explore” pages. In her post, Bryant underlined that she was only blocking the accounts to make sure she was continuing to heal and that it was not being done out of malice.

“Thx so much for all the [love]. @nataliabryant and I have unfortunately had to block fan pages because it’s been really hard to go online and constantly see pics of our beloved Gigi and Kobe under every single square of our explore pages. Blocking the fan pages has helped change the algorithm,” Bryant wrote in a post to her Stories on Instagram.

Vanessa continued to explain that “We [love] you all but please understand that we had to do this for our own healing not because we don’t appreciate your [love].”

Bryant’s Instagram page was made to be private soon after her husband’s death likely for similar reasons.

In a separate Instagram story to her own account Vanessa’s daughter Natalia shared, “We hope that people understand although these fan pages have good intentions, they make moving forward harder since they are constant reminders. Blocking the accounts have helped change the algorithm but we can not go public until the fan pages stop. We love all of your sweet intentions and we hope you understand.” 

Understandably, Bryant and her daughter are sheltering themselves from further hurt during this time.

Here’s hoping their fans continue to support them through this decision and understand their motives. Fortunately, while Bryant and her daughter Natalia have made their accounts private, they are still making their content available through other pages. Recently, Bryant revealed that she had decided to pay tribute to her late husband and daughter Gigi by commemorating their lives with tattoos.

Last week, Bryant took to Instagram to reveal she’d made the decision to honor her husband and daughter with two new tattoos.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBR38QADoyb/?utm_source=ig_embed

Both images were shared with the public via Nikko Hurtado, the artist behind Vanessa’s ink work.

“Shoutout to @nikkohurtado for coming over and helping me get my Gigi’s sweet message transferred on me,” she wrote in a caption to her Instagram page featuring a video of her new tattoo honoring her daughter. The details of the tattoo aren’t totally visible but in the comments, Bryant revealed that the tattoo features her late daughter’s handwriting. “So happy I can see my Gigi’s handwriting everyday ❤️ #mambacita,” she replied.

Bryant also shared a video of herself receiving another tattoo, this time for Kobe.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBR3vpUjEOf/?utm_source=ig_embed

In a post to her Instagram page, Bryant shared another video of herself. This time the video revealed that she was actively receiving a shoulder tattoo that is meant to honor her husband.

“I wanted my boo boo’s @kobebryant sweet message transferred on me,” Bryant explained in the caption of the photo.

For fans of the Bryants it’s important to note that while Vanessa and Natalia aren’t looking at fan accounts, the art is still available for you to view if it makes you feel better during this time.

Additionally, fans who want to keep up with Vanessa and Natalia and see how they continue to heal can follow friend accounts or stay in touch with us for updates!

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New Lawsuit Alleges that Alex Rodriguez is Guilty of Embezzlement and Racketeering: ‘He is a serial cheater and liar’

Entertainment

New Lawsuit Alleges that Alex Rodriguez is Guilty of Embezzlement and Racketeering: ‘He is a serial cheater and liar’

Photo via Getty Images

It looks like scandal just can’t stay away from A-Rod. The former Yankees all-star is now facing controversy based off of the claims filed in a lawsuit by his former brother-in-law, Constantine Scurtis.

The lawsuit alleges that Rodriguez is a pathological liar and cheater who embezzled millions of dollars through shady real estate deals.

The lawsuit states: “Defendant Alex Rodriguez, a former Yankees baseball player, is a serial cheater and liar. After cheating on his wife, Cynthia, and lying about his affairs, Alex Rodriguez then lied to and cheated his brother in law in their real estate partnership.”

According to Scurtis, he and Rodriguez formed a real estate partnership around the beginning of A-Rod’s marriage to his sister, Cynthia. The initial deal was that the duo would leverage A-Rod’s star power to attract clients and sales and would get 95% of the profits. Scurtis would get the rest of the profits, including acquisition fees when applicable.

Scurtis says that A-Rod sold their joint company without his consent and without giving him any of the profits.

But per Scurtis, in 2008, around the time that Rodriguez’s marriage to his first wife dissolved, A-Rod abruptly booted Scurtis from the partnership. Scurtis alleges that, up until that point, Rodriguez had previously lied to him and assured him that nothing would change in their business dealings.

The lawsuit also alleges that Rodriguez committed various acts of fraud, including concocting a “scheme to profit off of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ike.”

Hurricane Ike was a natural disaster that resulted in at least 195 deaths and billions of dollars in damage in 2008.

Scurtis says that Rodriguez committed insurance fraud, faking accounting records to claim that his properties sustained significantly more damage than they actually did.

The lawsuit alleges that A-Rod bribed an official who caught wind of the scheme to keep quiet.

“Through their racketeering,” the lawsuit said, “Rodriguez and his co-conspirators have caused Scurtis many millions of dollars in damages.”

Scurtis’s lawyer says that A-Rod will “face a jury on August 2, 2021, to answer claims that he and his co-conspirators engaged in a pattern of racketeering and embezzlement.”

“Scurtis never suspected that the tussle over the day-to-day operation of the business arising from his sister’s divorce would be followed by a systematic and fraudulent effort to eliminate Scurtis’s equity in the venture and strip him of the future financial rewards to which he was rightfully entitled,” says the lawsuit.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that Scurtis has brought a lawsuit against his ex-brother-in-law.

There seems to be no love lost between these two former business partners. Over the years, Scurtis has filed a multiple lawsuits against the Dominican ex-MVP, including a $100 million one in 2015 that included many of the same allegations. It is unclear how that situation ended, but judging by the newest lawsuit, Scurtis’s previous ones have not been successful.

As for A-Rod, he is hitting back at Scurtis’s claims, and filed a countersuit denying the accusations. We guess we’ll just keep our eyes peeled to see how this all turns out.

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