02/17/2010 1:05 PM ET
Urban Invitational presented by the U.S. Army starts February 19 with teams from Division-I schools and historically black colleges and universities
The United States Army becomes the first-ever presenting sponsor of the Collegiate Tournament held at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, CA
The 2010 Urban Invitational presented by the U.S. Army takes place February 19-21 at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, CA and features teams from Division-I schools and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The annual, round-robin, collegiate baseball tournament spotlights HBCUs and their baseball programs in an effort to provide them with national exposure. The games on Saturday, February 20 will be telecast live on MLB Network with play-by-play from Victor Rojas and analysis from Harold Reynolds, and streamed live on MLB.com, starting at 2:00pm PT. HBCUs Bethune-Cookman University (Daytona Beach, FL) and Southern University (Baton Rouge, LA) will participate, along with NCAA Division I schools University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and California State University-Northridge (CSUN).
"The Urban Invitational presented by the U.S. Army is a key initiative in our effort to provide opportunities to young people in urban communities," said Jimmie Lee Solomon, Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations, Major League Baseball. "We are very grateful to these baseball programs for allowing their student-athletes to participate in our tournament at the MLB Urban Youth Academy, and we are fortunate to have a partner in the United States Army that believes in our mission to provide these young men the national exposure they need."
The United States Army has partnered with Major League Baseball to become the first-ever presenting sponsor of the annual Urban Invitational. As part of their sponsorship, the U.S. Army will be presenting, along with Major League Baseball, the "Urban Invitational presented by the U.S. Army Most Valuable Player" award to a member of each of the four participating schools.
"We are pleased to partner with Major League Baseball and the Urban Youth Academy to help encourage youth to participate in activities which will help keep them mentally, emotionally, and physically strong," said Lt. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, Commanding General, U.S. Army Accessions Command. "We share Major League Baseball's goal of helping urban youth explore all the opportunities available to them that will lead to success in life."
Hall of Famers Lou Brock and Rod Carew are expected to attend tournament games. The games on Saturday will begin with a live performance by 18-year-old saxophone sensation B.K. Jackson, as he performs the National Anthem. Fans will also be entertained by live performances from Southern University's "Human Jukebox" and Bethune-Cookman's "Marching Wildcats," as they once again bring their timeless rhythmic performance rivalry to Compton. A high school All-Star Battle of the Bands will also take place and will feature bands from the local area high schools; Compton, Crenshaw, and Dominguez. Additionally, there will be youth baseball and softball clinics on Saturday and Sunday.
As part of the Urban Invitational presented by the U.S. Army weekend activities, the MLB Urban Youth Academy will also be hosting a college fair on Saturday, February 20. Over 16 colleges and universities will be represented and will provide information to parents and young adults regarding college preparation, undergraduate and graduate degree programs, financial aid and scholarship opportunities.
Tickets to the games being played at the MLB Urban Youth Academy will be available for purchase on game day for $5.00. Children 12 and under and any student with a valid student ID will be admitted free. Proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy, which is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.
Major League Baseball is committed to addressing the issue of African-American participation in professional baseball through its different community and multicultural programs. With the soon to be opened Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park in Houston and the announcement of an additional Urban Youth Academy in Hialeah, FL, MLB has continued to pledge resources to bringing America's pastime to young people in urban communities.
HBCUs have long offered quality education and athletic programs and have a proud tradition of outstanding baseball players. Hall of Famers Lou Brock and Andre Dawson, and current Milwaukee Brewers Infielder Rickie Weeks, came from HBCUs. Seven HBCU players were selected in the MLB 2009 First-Year Player Draft, two of whom played in last year's Urban Invitational. Through the annual Urban Invitational presented by the U.S. Army, MLB hopes to help these programs provide opportunities to play collegiate-level baseball to the African-American community.
The MLB Urban Youth Baseball Academy, encompassing more than 25 acres on the campus of El Camino College, Compton Center is a state-of-the-art facility featuring four fields including a show field, batting cages and other training facilities. The Academy operates on a year-round basis, offering free baseball and softball instruction, as well as clinics to youth throughout Southern California.
Games and Entertainment Schedule (all times Pacific):
Friday, February 19, Bethune-Cookman vs. CSUN, 2pm at MLB Urban Youth Academy
Friday, February 19, Southern University vs. UCLA, 6pm at Jackie Robinson Stadium (UCLA)
Saturday, February 20, High School All-Star Battle of the Bands - Compton High School, Crenshaw High School, Dominguez High School, 10am at MLB Urban Youth Academy
Saturday, February 20, Youth Baseball and Softball Clinic, 11am at MLB Urban Youth Academy
Saturday, February 20, CSUN vs. Southern University, 2pm at MLB Urban Youth Academy - Live on MLB Network and MLB.com
Saturday, February 20, College Battle of the Bands - Southern University's "Human Jukebox" and Bethune-Cookman's "Marching Wildcats," 5pm
Saturday, February 20, UCLA vs. Bethune-Cookman, 6pm at MLB Urban Youth Academy - Live on MLB Network and MLB.com
Sunday, February 21, Youth Baseball and Softball Clinic, 11am at MLB Urban Youth Academy
Sunday, February 21, Southern University vs. Bethune-Cookman, 2pm at MLB Urban Youth Academy
Sunday, February 21, CSUN vs. UCLA, 1pm at Jackie Robinson Stadium (UCLA)