MILWAUKEE -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced support of an initiative promoting healthy living and discouraging the use of performance-enhancing drugs at an event for the national PLAY campaign at Miller Park on Tuesday.Selig announced that Major League Baseball donated a gift to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, so it can begin its new BASE program. An acronym for "Be a Superior Example," BASE is an educational tool the Hall of Fame intends to use to teach people of all ages about living a healthy lifestyle, which includes warning them about the dangers of using PEDs. "The national pastime, I've often said, is a social institution," Selig said. "And as such, we have very important social responsibilities. I'm very proud that our sport is standing alongside PBATS [Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society], the [Taylor] Hooton Foundation and now the National Baseball Hall of Fame to educate our next generation about healthy living and clean competition." PBATS assists in putting on the PLAY campaign, which stands for Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth, along with the Hooton Foundation and MLB Charities. Selig began his afternoon thanking those organizations for what they have done for the sport of baseball. With the help of the Hall of Fame, Selig was excited about the chance to further educate young people. Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson was also on hand at Miller Park on Tuesday, and he said the BASE program joins 16 other education modules the Hall of Fame uses to teach everything from math to social studies in all 50 states and Canada. However, he said schools had been asking for a program focused on fitness and health. Idelson said the Hall of Fame received contributions from about 350 donors, but MLB's donation, which he would only describe as "significant," made the program possible. "We've been working on this a few years, putting the components together," Idelson said. "And until the funding was finalized, we had a great idea but no place to put it." The Hall of Fame will host a BASE Weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y., this Saturday and Sunday to launch the new program. Festivities will include 5K and 10K races and a blood drive. As part of the program, registration for a "PED-free" pledge also will begin on Saturday. The pledge encourages people to send their name and a picture to the Hall of Fame as a commitment toward living healthy and not using PEDs. Those pictures then can be seen at interactive kiosks in the Hall of Fame Museum. The four main principles of BASE -- fitness, nutrition, character and fair play -- will be taught at the Museum and in classrooms throughout the country and eventually beyond, Idelson said, and they will be aimed at "students, parents, coaches and anybody interested." Idelson emphasized that the program is about more than just discouraging the use of performance enhancers, and Selig said it is another important step in the continued fight against such drugs. "This sport had a lot of problems in the past and was never able to come to a drug testing program," Selig said. "Now we come to not only the toughest testing program in American sports, but one that's really been thorough.
"But we have to be very conscious. They have a lot of different choices, and unfortunately people working to give them more choices, which I find reprehensible at best. But to have the cooperation of the Hall of Fame and the Hooton Foundation and the trainers and everyone else, that's why this program is what it is today, because everyone is working toward the same goal."
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.