May 27, 2018 2 min read
TeaZa’s Operation Tobacco Free (OTF) staff and volunteers want to help players and fans quit dipping. So they pitched the benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle, and handed out samples and swag at the 2018 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Convention January 4-7 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.
This year’s event was the largest gathering of baseball coaches in history, and was attended by more than 6,000 high school and college baseball coaches and players.
Former MLB pitcher and OTF ambassador, David “Boomer” Wells, snapped photos with fans and autographed memorabilia at the TeaZa booth.
Being a 20-year veteran of the major leagues and a high school baseball coach, Wells understands how deeply ingrained smokeless tobacco use is in baseball culture.
“Operation Tobacco Free and TeaZa have helped thousands of players and fans quit dipping,” said Wells who now serves as head coach of his alma mater’s baseball team at Point Loma High School in San Diego, California. “As a coach, I try to encourage kids to refuse to use tobacco in the first place.”
With nearly half of all major league stadiums (14 out of 30) going tobacco-free, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, San Francisco, St. Louis, St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) and Washington, D.C.; and the 2016 collective bargaining agreement between players and owners prohibiting new MLB players from chewing and dipping; it’s only a matter of time before baseball becomes completely tobacco-free.
The OTF initiative is focused on reaching some 8 million adult smokeless tobacco users in the US as well as an estimated 535,000 kids age 12-17 who try smokeless tobacco for the first time each year. Launched in 2015, OTF donated thousands of dollars in product and sponsorship of youth athletic and health programs in its first year.
TeaZa® Energy was among more than 300 companies that displayed products, innovations and state-of-the-art equipment at the ABCA Convention. Team OTF handed out samples of TeaZa® Energy, collected OTF team sponsorship applications and raised awareness of the results of a tobacco de-addiction pilot study conducted by USC Project RISHI. Study participants reported as much as 66% decreased tobacco use, with 10% reporting they quit using tobacco products while using TeaZa®.
Event highlights included several meetings, awards presentations, panel discussions and clinic speakers from coaches from college and high school at all levels, including 2017 NCAA Div. I National Champion head coach Kevin O’Sullivan from the University of Florida; five-time national champion Augie Garrido; the NCAA Div. I all-time wins leader, as well as past NCAA Div. II champion coach Tracy Archuleta of the University of Southern Indiana; and past NAIA champion coach Denney Crabaugh of Oklahoma City University.
Awards winners included, A.J. Hinch, manager of the 2017 World Champion Houston Astros, who was given the ABCA Honor Award; J-Bob Thomas of Texas Tech, who was presented the ABCA/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year Award; and Turn Two For Youth, who was presented the ABCA Meritorious Service Award.
Coaches inducted to the ABCA Hall of Fame included: Ed Blankmeyer, Hill Denson, Don Freeman, Jim Gilligan, Tim Hill, Bobby Howard, Andy Lopez, Stan Luketich, Pat McMahon, Frank Permuy and John Schaly.
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