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Indians host 2017 National Play Campaign

Fifty kids from the local Boys and Girls Club participate in baseball clinic, hear from players
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- In an effort to promote children living healthy active lifestyles, the Indians hosted the 2017 National PLAY (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) Campaign on Tuesday afternoon at Progressive Field.

Fifty children from the local Boys & Girls Club who participated in the annual baseball clinic at the ballpark heard from Indians catcher Yan Gomes, head athletic trainer James Quinlan and other members of the team's training staff about the importance of living a healthy life.

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CLEVELAND -- In an effort to promote children living healthy active lifestyles, the Indians hosted the 2017 National PLAY (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) Campaign on Tuesday afternoon at Progressive Field.

Fifty children from the local Boys & Girls Club who participated in the annual baseball clinic at the ballpark heard from Indians catcher Yan Gomes, head athletic trainer James Quinlan and other members of the team's training staff about the importance of living a healthy life.

View Full Game Coverage

"It's really cool," Quinlan said of the event. "Anytime you can have some of our players and staff to come out and educate kids at a young age on the importance of physical activity, staying away from the dangers of steroids, living healthy and just the little things like good sleep and nutrition, it is a great opportunity to help the community."

Tweet from @BillKosileski: The Indians hosted the 2017 PLAY Campaign at Progressive Field this afternoon. 50 children from the Boys and Girls Club participated. pic.twitter.com/VYMaMcup0Y

In the nearly two-hour clinic, the participating children were split into groups and made stops through a series of stations, each with its own focus. Everything from strength and conditioning, injury prevention, healthy eating and the dangers of performance or appearance enhancing drugs were covered in the stations.

Each group also had the opportunity to meet and interact with Gomes, who held a Q&A session with each group in the Indians' dugout.

"Well, it is almost like a little bit of a way to hold yourself accountable," Gomes said. "If you are going to come up here and tell these kids to hydrate, eat well, rest and don't cheat, I think that you better be doing it yourself. Personally, for my family and I, it is really important to give back to the community and to just give back to kids."

Tweet from @BillKosileski: Indians catcher Yan Gomes was in attendance at the event. Here is a shot of him talking with a group of children in the Indians dugout. pic.twitter.com/Cm6Kntsrwe

The PLAY Campaign -- created in 2004 by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) -- was made possible thanks to the participation and support of Major League Baseball Charities, the Henry Schein Cares Foundation and the Taylor Hooton Foundation.

Both foundations were represented at the event. Tavis Piattoly, the education program manager of the Taylor Hooton Foundation, and Chris Lengle, the regional sales manager at Henry Schein, were also involved with the clinic. The Taylor Hooton Foundation educates youth on the dangers of anabolic steroids and other performance or appearance enhancing drugs, while the Henry Schein Cares Foundation aims to increase access to care for at-risk and underserved communities.

"[This event] is so important because these kids look up to these individuals, especially the pro baseball players," Piattoly said. "They aspire to follow in their footsteps, so when they hear that these players are doing it the right way -- clean eating, playing clean, living clean, eating well, playing hard, training right -- it inspires them to want to do the same thing."

"I think it is great, especially when you have an organization like this that just came from the World Series, to be able to do things for underprivileged kids or the youth in this area," Lengle said. "To give back to the community and promote a healthy lifestyle for the kids starting at a young age, that's what it's all about."

MLB.com correspondent for a day

Sports blogger Shelly Holt was given a very unique opportunity, as she was MLB.com's Correspondent for a day on Tuesday.

Thanks to the Play Ball Charity Auction, Holt -- who won the auction -- got to experience the pregame reporting routine for the Indians' game against the Dodgers.

Before the game, she went inside the press box, stood on the field for batting practice and even sat in on the pregame news conference with Indians manager Terry Francona. Once the pregame duties ended, Holt joined the fans in the stands to watch the two teams play their series opener.

William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Cleveland Indians