For the second straight year, the Astros will host the Urban Invitational. It is a college baseball tournament designed by Major League Baseball to give historically black colleges and universities some national exposure. This year the nationally televised tournament will be played at Minute Maid Park Feb. 22-24 and will feature Alabama State, Southern, Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern.
"Major League Baseball would like to congratulate the four teams and all the student-athletes who will be participating in this year's Urban Invitational," said Frank Robinson, MLB executive vice president of baseball development. "This annual event is an important and special opportunity for the sport to showcase the talent and skill level demonstrated by HBCU programs deserving of national attention. We are proud to work alongside the Astros organization to not only provide a wonderful experience for those playing the games on the field, but also offer opportunities away from the diamond for the Houston community."
Friday, Feb. 22
3 p.m. Southern vs. Texas Southern
6:30 p.m. Prairie View vs. Alabama State
Saturday, Feb. 23
4 p.m. Alabama State vs. Southern
7:30 p.m. Texas Southern vs. Prairie View
Sunday, Feb. 24
Noon Alabama State vs. Texas Southern
3:30 p.m. Southern vs. Prairie View
“The Houston Astros are very excited that Major League Baseball has chosen to return the Urban Invitational to Minute Maid Park this year,” said Daryl Wade, Manager of the Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy. “Last year’s event was a great success for the Astros, Major League Baseball and the city of Houston. We all look forward to continuing this relationship with the ultimate goal of continuing to provide local youth, students and young professionals instruction, support and opportunities for their future successes.”
And a special treat for those who attend on Saturday: Jermaine Paul, season two winner of “The Voice,” will perform the National Anthem on Sat., Feb 3 at 4 p.m. Also, an on-field “Battle of the Bands” competition will be held between Texas Southern’s “Ocean of Soul” and Prairie View A&M’s “Marching Storm.”
Prior to Saturday’s games, MLB and the Astros will host a youth baseball clinic at the Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park from 9-11:30 a.m. Players from each of the participating teams in the Urban Invitational will help provide instruction to Academy youth and boys and girls from local Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities programs (RBI).
Also, MLB and the Astros will host a college and career fair at Minute Maid Park on Friday, Feb. 22 from 12-3 p.m. Participating colleges and universities will provide information about college preparation, undergraduate and graduate degree programs, financial aid and scholarship opportunities, and local businesses will also be on hand to provide career advice and discuss potential job opportunities.