4/4/2014 10:19 A.M. ET
Astros and Oxy open youth baseball fields at Denver Harbor Park on Saturday
Nolan and Reid Ryan, Jason Castro and Jose Altuve Scheduled to Attend Field Opening Celebration
By / MLB.com
HOUSTON, TX - The Astros Foundation and Occidental Petroleum Corporation, or Oxy, will celebrate the opening of two newly revitalized Houston youth baseball fields the morning of Saturday, April 5 at Denver Harbor Park, 6402 Market Street, Houston, TX 77020. Astros Executive Advisor Nolan Ryan and Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan will join Oxy President Oil and Gas Americas Bill Albrecht, Astros interim Executive Director of The Astros Foundation Twila Carter, Denver Harbor Little League President David Rodriguez, and other team officials for the field opening festivities. Also scheduled to appear are Astros players Jose Altuve and Jason Castro, Astros alumnus and community outreach executive Jose Cruz, players and coaches from the Denver Harbor Little League and Astros mascot Orbit. The Denver Harbor opening day parade will kick off at 9:00am, with the speaking portion of the event beginning at 10:00am.
"We are honored to work with a great community champion like Oxy 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. 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. "
"I've seen the positive impact baseball has on kids," said Astros President Reid Ryan. "The Community Leaders program is a great gift to the city of Houston, and the Astros are grateful to Oxy 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 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 Oxy. The reconstruction and safety features added to the city-owned Denver Harbor Park ballfields were paid for through the Astros Community Leaders program and completed at no cost to taxpayers.
"Oxy is proud to support the revitalization of the Denver Harbor Park ballfields through our participation in the Astros' Community Leaders program," said Bill Albrecht, Oxy President Oil and Gas Americas. "We are looking forward to participating in Opening Day and also to an exciting enduring partnership with Denver Harbor Little League."
Reconstruction at the first Community Leaders ballfields began in 2012, and with the addition of the two newly renovated fields at Denver Harbor Park, 16 fields have been renovated through the Community Leaders program. Construction at additional fields is already underway. These revitalized public youth baseball and softball fields serve thousands of at-risk youth in Houston.
"Denver Harbor Little League would like to thank the Astros and Oxy for everything they are doing for our league, and we look forward to working with them for years to come," said Denver Harbor Little League President David Rodriguez. "To watch these children play ball on the new and improved fields will bring a sense of pride and delight to the children, their parents and the community."
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 Oxy, 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.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.