A tournament sponsored by Andre Dawson which includes six historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), co-hosted by the University of Illinois at Chicago and University of New Orleans, are squaring off this weekend. Now in its 11th year, it will be known as,
The tournament had been named the Urban Invitational,
“It is with the utmost appreciation that I take this opportunity to thank MLB for this honor,” said Dawson, “I am a product of an HBCU program that provided me an opportunity to pursue a college education while chasing a childhood dream. I am both honored and humbled to play a role in empowering students to be leaders in their communities and strive to improve and impact the lives of others.”
Blue Jays outfielder Curtis Granderson, Dmitri Young, and Jerry Manuel (currently an MLB youth programs consultant) are and will be on hand as well during the tournament.
A total of five games were played on Friday, and four games followed Saturday. The teams involved include the following (appearance number in brackets),
- Alabama State University (2nd)
- Alcorn State University (4th)
- Grambling State University (7th)
- Prairie View A&M University (4th)
- Southern University (11th appearance)
- University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (1st)
- University of New Orleans (5th)
- University of Illinois at Chicago (2nd)
Here’s a rundown of the games remaining on the schedule,
1 p.m. ET: Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions vs. Alabama State Hornets, Maestri Stadium. Gameday »
1 p.m. ET: Prairie View A&M Panthers vs. Illinois-Chicago Flames, Wesley Barrow Stadium. Gameday »
4 p.m. ET: Alcorn State Braves vs. Grambling State Tigers, Wesley Barrow Stadium. Gameday »
4 p.m. ET: Southern Jaguars vs. New Orleans Privateers, Maestri Stadium. Gameday »
Thoughts on The HBCU and The Hawk
It’s much easier to go off into retirement, relax and take in the sea breeze than it is to get involved and attempt to change things for the better. Andre Dawson is not the kind to sit around and wait for life to pass him by. Instead, he’s getting in there and making a positive difference, one that could benefit generations of baseball players.
The move from having a focus on “Urban” to naming the tournament after a Hall of Famer is a very positive one. Not only does it provide the tournament weight in name because they all know (or should know) who Andre Dawson is, but they also know that one of the main reasons he was able to showcase himself to the right people was due to HBCU initiatives. That makes this name change a perfect change.
Good on you Hawk, truly wish you and the tournament the best of outcomes, and let’s hope that one day all of the games can be televised instead of a selected few.
– Mat Germain, baseball writer for Expos Reloaded and SB Nation’s DRaysBay, with more than 10 years covering the Toronto Blue Jays (Jays Journal) and Tampa Bay Rays. Still serving in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Reservist and Operations Officer for 413 Search and Rescue Squadron in Greenwood, Nova Scotia. Follow Mat on Twitter @MatGermain76.