This winter, baseball and golf will combine to benefit a worthy cause. Ron Washington, Louisiana native and manager of the two-time defending AL champion Texas Rangers, will host a second annual golf tournament designed to benefit Major League Baseball's Urban Youth Academy in New Orleans.
Washington, born in New Orleans and a graduate of John McDonogh Senior High School, will play host to the tourney, which kicked off for the first time last November. This year, the event will be held on Nov. 12 at English Turn Golf and Country Club, a course designed by Jack Nicklaus.
The New Orleans Urban Youth Academy -- the fourth institution operated by Major League Baseball -- has sister facilities in Compton, Calif., Houston and Puerto Rico. The New Orleans facility was supposed to have a grand opening late last month but it was pushed back by Hurricane Isaac.
The academy is ready to run, though, and will offer year-round baseball clinics and educational opportunities to local children. Washington and former big-leaguer Chad Gaudin -- a Louisiana native -- were the most familiar faces involved in bringing the tournament to the masses last year.
"There's a lot of failures in this game, and if you can deal with failures, I think you have an opportunity to move forward in life. Especially in this area, because there is a lot of failure," Washington said last year. "Once we get this up and running, we can see what influences we can have on young lives. That's what it's all about, because they are the future. Our future just can't be shooting each other in the neighborhood. The future needs to be established in life for the youth and their family."
This year, Washington's face and voice are a central part of the tournament's recruiting pitch. Washington sent out an open letter to prospective golfers that urges them to be part of the renewal in New Orleans and part of the community supporting the local Urban Youth Academy.
"I am so honored to be associated with the newest Urban Youth Academy here in our hometown," the letter read. "And hope to help provide the same opportunities we had to succeed in the sport. Academies provide thousands of young athletes with instruction and lessons in discipline and leadership. I am proud to support a program that positively affects the lives of so many young people."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.