The Astros Foundation and Calpine Corporation (NYSE: CPN) celebrated the opening of two newly revitalized Houston youth baseball fields at Moody Park, 3725 Fulton Street. Calpine Chief Executive Officer Jack Fusco joined Astros Chairman Jim Crane as well as players and coaches from the Lindale Little League along with Astros players Jose Altuve and Carlos Corporan, Astros legend Jose Cruz, team mascot Orbit and other team and Calpine executives.
"We're getting kids playing baseball and getting them out to the ballpark," said Astros Chairman Jim Crane. "I played when I was a kid and it had a big impact on me, kept me busy, kept me out of trouble. It got the family involved and that's what we're trying to do here."
The newly refurbished fields are all at city-owned parks. All reconstruction and additional safety features are paid for through the Community Leaders program and completed at no cost to taxpayers. For example, in keeping with its own commitment to safety, Calpine presented each Lindale Little League team with batting helmets and equipment bags and hung banners at Moody Park reminding all team members to play safely.
"We were trying to think of a way to tie safety into the theme of baseball, so we wanted to make sure the players have the right personal protective equipment" said Calpine's Chief Executive Officer Jack Fusco. "We're giving them new batting helmets and equipment bags to keep the dugouts free and clear of any debris. The Community Leaders program with the Astros we felt was right in line with what Calpine is all about, with what we're trying to do as far as giving back to the community and being good corporate citizens."
The Astros Community Leaders program will invest $18 million in city-owned public youth baseball and softball fields in disadvantaged areas of Houston over the course of five years. Jumpstarted by Astros Chairman Jim Crane late last year, the Community Leaders program is run by The Astros Foundation, the official team charity, and is a collaboration with Houston-based corporations and the city of Houston.
Construction at the first ballfields began in the fall of 2012. To date, eight fields have been renovated through the Community Leaders program, with construction at additional fields already underway. These revitalized public youth baseball and softball fields serve thousands of at-risk youth in Houston.
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 who 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 Calpine, will also participate in occasional community service projects with their employees and other Astros Foundation-led special events at the fields throughout the year.