PLAY Campaign Visits Miller Park, Commissioner Selig On Hand For Hall of Fame Announcement

It was a busy morning at Miller Park today as the annual “PLAY Campaign” visited Miller Park giving some local Little Leaguers a memory of a lifetime.  Sponsored by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) and the Taylor Hooten Foundation, the goal of the clinic was to educate local youth about how important it is to live healthy and active lives.

Nyjer Morgan, members of the Brewers Athletic Training staff, Don Hooton, Sr., and over 100 kids from local Little Leagues spent the morning at Miller Park taking part in drills, learning about the proper nutrition needed to compete and the dangers of performance enhancing drugs.  The kids were also given positive messages about making healthy decisions and living a more active and healthy lifestyle.

Milwaukee is a yearly stop on the “PLAY” tour and event organizers love coming here because of the enthusiasm of the kids and the organization’s cooperation.  Brewers Director – Medical Operations Roger Caplinger and Head Athletic Trainer Dan Wright have consistently played a big part in making sure the kids have a memorable experience with the campaign.  “PLAY” was formed in 2004 to raise awareness about children’s health issues and the obesity epidemic in the United States.  The Taylor Hooton Foundation joined PLAY in 2008 to merge its anti-steroid education message and generate awareness about one of the fastest growing drugs in America.

As if things like getting an on-field instructional from Nyjer Morgan on the finer points of fielding and learning the proper stretching techniques from Brewers Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Josh Seligman on the field at Miller Park weren’t enough, the group of kids today were visited by a very special guest.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig was also on hand to stress the importance of remaining active and playing fair.  He addressed the kids after the on field part of the event in the Miller Park Media Interview Room.  The Commissioner took questions and I learned that his favorite player growing up was Joe DiMaggio.  He refused, however, to tell the group what his favorite baseball team is.

“The best part is there are 15 winners every night,” Selig said with a smile.

The Commissioner announced to the group that Major League Baseball has made a significant contribution to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Muesum’s newest education outreach program–“BASE” (Be A Superior Example).  The program, aimed at teaching healthy living for young athletes, encourages participants to “Be A Superior Example,” by signing a national registry to pledge to live and play free of performance-enhancing substances.

Through this program, kids who commit to living free of performance-enhancing substances will be able to sign a registry that will reside in Cooperstown, N.Y. at the Hall of Fame and Museum.

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I hope these kids are able to look back at today and realize how fortunate they are to have experienced what they did today.  The adults who were there speaking to the kids–from Commissioner Selig, to Morgan to Mr. Hooten, to the Brewers training staff–all spoke with passion and care for these kids.  They were not just “checking the box.”  You could tell they were having fun while at the same time were serious about sending a positive message to these kids.

A special thanks to Caplinger, Wright, Seligman and Dave Yaeger of the Brewers Athletic Training Staff, Don Hooten, Sr., Sam Radbill from the PLAY Campaign (a Whitefish Bay native who grew up playing Little League on Craig Counsell Field), Katina Shaw and Erika Bowring of the Brewers Community Relations Department and the parents of the kids who participated in today’s event for making this day so special for the kids involved.

For more information on the initiatives from today’s events and how you and your children can get involved, follow the links below:

TAYLOR HOOTEN FOUNDATION

BASEBALL HALL OF FAME “BASE” PROGRAM

PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL ATHLETIC TRAINERS SOCIETY

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

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