HOUSTON -- The Astros will once again play host to the Urban Invitational, a college baseball tournament at Minute Maid Park that features four historically black colleges and universities -- Alabama State, Southern, Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern.
The tournament, which was designed by Major League Baseball to give historically black colleges and universities some national exposure, will be held Feb. 22-24 at Minute Maid Park and will be live on MLB Network and MLB.com with play-by-play from MLB Network Analysts Joe Magrane and Paul Severino.
Tickets will be available soon on Astros.com.
"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."
On Feb. 22, Southern and Texas Southern will play at 3 p.m. CT, followed by Prairie View and Alabama State at 6:30 p.m. Alabama State and Southern will meet at 4 p.m. Feb. 23, followed by Texas Southern and Prairie View at 7:30 p.m. The tournament concludes Feb. 24 with Alabama State vs. Texas Southern at noon and Southern meeting Prairie View at 3:30 p.m.
Tickets to all games and events at Minute Maid Park will be available to the general public for $10, and parking for Minute Maid Park is also available for $10 in the Diamond Lot and $5 for the other Astros controlled lots. High school students and younger with a valid student ID will be admitted to the ballpark for free. All proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Foundation.
"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."
MLB and the Astros will host a youth baseball clinic on Feb. 23 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 boys and girls from local Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities programs.
Additionally, MLB and the Astros will host a college and career fair at Minute Maid Park on Feb. 22 from 12-3 p.m. CT. 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.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.