9/14/2013 3:28 P.M. ET
Astros, National Oilwell Varco Open Youth Baseball Fields at Melrose Park Today
Celebration Brings Day of Games and Family Fun to Renovated Baseball Fields
By / MLB.com
The Astros Foundation and National Oilwell Varco (NOV) celebrated the opening of three newly revitalized Houston youth baseball fields this morning at Melrose Park, 1001 Canino Road, Houston, TX 77076. Astros President Reid Ryan joined National Oilwell Varco Chairman and CEO Pete Miller and Director of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department Joseph Turner, along with Astros SVP of Community Relations and Executive Director of The Astros Foundation Meg Vaillancourt, NOV Community Relations Manager Jason Bozic, Northside National Little League President Tony Salas, and other team and NOV executives for the field opening. Also attending were Astros players Lucas Harrell, Jason Castro, Astros alumnus Jose Cruz and players and coaches from the Northside National Little League,and Astros mascot Orbit.
"We are honored to work with a great community champion like National Oilwell Varco in renovating these public ballfields for the kids who play on them," said Jim Crane. "We know the lessons kids learn from baseball -- like teamwork, and perseverance and respect for others -- are lessons that will last a lifetime and extend far beyond the baseball diamond. And we look forward to hosting the kids at Astros games and providing clinics and other special events with our players, alumni and Astros Foundation staff throughout the year.
As part of National Oilwell Varco's commitment to the Houston community, the company will make a donation to the Astros Foundation to help fund the program over the next five years. At Melrose Park, The Astros Foundation and NOV will be working with Northside National Little League, which serves more than 225 children and uses the newly revitalized youth ballgrounds as its home field.
"I've seen the positive impact baseball has on kids," said Reid Ryan. "The Community Leaders program is a great gift to the city of Houston, and the Astros are grateful to National Oilwell Varco for ensuring that all kids can enjoy and learn the game on safe and welcoming ballfields."
The Astros Community Leaders program is investing $18 million in city-owned public youth baseball and softball fields in disadvantaged areas of Houston over the course of the next five years. Jumpstarted by Jim Crane, the Community Leaders program is run by The Astros Foundation, the official team charity, and is a collaboration with Mayor Annise Parker, the city of Houston Parks and Recreation Department and up to 12 Houston-based corporate champions including National Oilwell Varco. The reconstruction and safety features added to the city-owned Melrose Park ballfields were paid for through the Astros Community Leaders program and completed at no cost to taxpayers.
"At National Oilwell Varco, we believe in helping communities where we have our major operations and people, and that is why we are pleased to partner with the Houston Astros," said Pete Miller, Chairman & CEO of National Oilwell Varco. "Working with the Astros and the local community has been a privilege because it allows us to bring baseball back to the inner-city fields so kids can have fun throughout the year while developing lifelong lessons of teamwork and leadership skills."
Reconstruction at the first Community Leaders ballfields began in the fall of 2012. With the addition of the newly renovated fields at Melrose Park, 14 fields have been renovated through the Community Leaders program, and construction at additional fields is already underway. These revitalized public youth baseball and softball fields serve thousands of at-risk youth in Houston.
"We are honored to partner with The Astros Foundation and National Oilwell Varco in helping our kids have safer fields, and the chance to leverage their love of baseball in order to open the doors of opportunity and learn life skills, too," said Tony Salas, President of Northside National Little League. "Melrose Park was in tough shape, and now it looks like a real field of dreams. We are excited and grateful for this generous gift to our community."
National Oilwell Varco is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and sale of equipment and components used in oil and gas drilling and production operations, the provision of oilfield services, and supply chain integration services to the upstream oil and gas industry. National Oilwell Varco is headquartered in Houston, Texas and has over 60,000 employees worldwide.
In conjunction with the team charity's other cornerstone program, the Astros Urban Youth Academy, The Astros Foundation is also developing additional programming to serve the youth teams that play at these parks, including baseball and softball clinics with the Astros current players and alumni and UYA instructors, donated equipment and special events. The youth teams partnering with the Community Leaders program will receive tickets to Astros games at Minute Maid Park, and the Houston-based corporations in the Community Leaders program, including National Oilwell Varco, will also participate in occasional community service projects with their employees and other Astros Foundation-led special events at the fields throughout the five-year program.
ABOUT THE ASTROS FOUNDATION:
The Astros Foundation is the official team charity of the Houston Astros. Led by Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane and his partners, the Astros Foundation seeks to harness the passion of baseball fans in our region to support our cornerstone charitable youth baseball and softball programs serving at-risk children and teens of Greater Houston. Those initiatives include the Astros Community Leaders program, the Astros Urban Youth Academy and the Astros RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) league. The Executive Director of the Astros Foundation is Astros Sr. VP of Community Relations Meg Vaillancourt. For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.astros.com/foundation or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.