San Diego State, Univ. of San Diego to meet Southern, Bethune-Cookman on Feb. 20-22
Major League Baseball announced that the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy will host the second annual Urban Invitational Baseball Tournament from February 20 – 22 with the games on Saturday, February 21 broadcast live on MLB Network. The Urban Invitational spotlights Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their baseball programs in an effort to provide them with national exposure.
HBCUs Bethune-Cookman University (Daytona Beach, FL) and Southern University (Baton Rouge, LA) will face off against NCAA Division I schools University of San Diego (USD) and San Diego State University (SDSU).
"The Urban Invitational Baseball Tournament is a part of our continued focus on reviving the majesty of baseball in the African American community," said Major League Baseball Executive Vice President of Operations Jimmie Lee Solomon. "This tournament, along with the other programs at the MLB Urban Youth Academy, the Civil Rights Game and many of our other efforts, is reflective of Commissioner Selig's and Baseball's commitment to diversity, inclusion and engagement of our nation's young people."
As part of the Urban Invitational weekend activities, MLB Urban Youth Academy will also be hosting a college fair on Saturday, February 21, 2009. 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.
Tournament games will be played at the MLB Urban Youth Academy beginning Friday, February 20 and continuing through Sunday, February 22. Both games on Saturday, February 21, 2009, will be played at the MLB Urban Youth Academy and broadcast live on MLB Network. The tournament on that day will kick off with a live performance from Grammy nominated recording artist Jeffrey Osborne, 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 bring their timeless rhythmic performance rivalry to Compton, California. 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 Jordan. Southern University and Bethune-Cookman University baseball teams will square off against each other at 1:00 P.M. (PST) on Sunday at the Academy.
"With the baseball season fast approaching, we're looking forward to giving our fans more live baseball," said Tony Petitti, President and CEO, MLB Network. "But more importantly, we're proud to help promote grow the game while celebrating the rich history of baseball in the African-American community."
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 students with valid ID will be admitted free. Proceeds from the ticket sale will benefit the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy, which is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.
"Our program is thrilled to represent San Diego State in the Urban Invitational Baseball Tournament at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy," said San Diego State University Head Baseball Coach and Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. "We are honored to play in the event and our players look forward to some great college baseball."
"On behalf of Southern University, we are honored to be playing in Urban Invitational Baseball Tournament for the second time," say Southern Baseball coach, Roger Cador. "This is a first class event at a great facility, and we surely hope that the Urban Invitational Baseball Tournament continues to grow, and with the assistance of Major League Baseball, we are hoping that more of our youth from our urban and inner-city areas are once again exposed to college baseball and Historically Black Colleges and Universities."
Major League Baseball is committed to addressing the issue of African American participation in professional baseball through its different community and multicultural programs. With its most recent announcement of two additional Urban Youth academies, the League has continued its pledge of resources to bringing urban youth back to America's pastime.
HBCUs have long offered quality education and athletic programs and have a proud tradition of outstanding baseball players. Hall of Famer Lou Brock, former MVP Andre Dawson and current Milwaukee Brewers star Rickie Weeks, all rose from HBCUs. Four HBCU players were selected in the MLB 2008 First-Year Player Draft, three of whom played in last year's Urban Invitational. Through the annual Urban Invitational Baseball Tournament, MLB hopes to help these programs revitalize baseball in the African-American community.
Games and Entertainment Schedule (all times Pacific):
Friday, February 20: Southern University vs. USD, 2PM at MLB Urban Youth Academy; Bethune-Cookman vs. SDSU, 6PM at MLB Urban Youth Academy
Saturday, February 21: USD vs. Bethune-Cookman, 2PM at MLB Urban Youth Academy; SDSU vs. Southern University, 6PM at MLB Urban Youth Academy
*High School All-Star Battle of the Bands – Compton High School, Jordan High School, Crenshaw High School, 10AM
*College Battle of the Bands – Southern's "Human Jukebox" and Bethune-Cookman's "Marching Wildcats," 5PM
Sunday, February 22: Southern University vs. Bethune-Cookman, 1PM at MLB Urban Youth Academy; SDSU vs. USD, 1PM at University of San Diego