Twins to participate in highway safety promotional efforts

By Julie Fann
star staff

The Elizabethton Twins will be "teaming up" with the Governor's Highway Safety Office this season in a coordinated effort to promote highway safety awareness and generate support for minor league baseball. Parks and Recreation Director Mike Mains said he is excited to be part of the program.
   "I think all the teams that are participating in this program are excited about reaching out with other agencies in the state to provide educational opportunities for the community. It's just a real win for us," Mains said.
   The promotional effort by the Governor's Highway Safety office involves all eight minor league teams across the state hosting different "Highway Safety" nights. On "Click It or Ticket" night, the audience will be given "clickers" with the Twins logo and "Click It or Ticket" written on them to encourage fans to wear their seat belt. On "Booze It or Lose It" night, the team will have 10,000 baseballs to throw to the fans. Each baseball will have the Twins logo printed on it and "Booze It or Lose It."
   The Twins will provide 200 tickets for the game to local law enforcement officials in a liaison effort. There will also be a highway safety information booth where fans can ask questions. The highway safety office will throw out the first pitch of the game during the "Click It or Ticket" and "Booze It or Lose It" nights and provide a certified technician to inspect child safety seats at the fan's request.
   The Governor's Highway Safety program extends beyond the baseball fields to schools. Besides hosting safety nights at games, each minor league team across the state is also partnering up with local highway safety officials during in-school speeches and promotions. Players and mascots promote the message that everyone needs to wear a seat belt, while also providing autograph opportunities.
   According to Art Victorine, the Governor's Highway Safety office director, Nashville's minor league team first approached highway safety officials with an interest in supporting the DOT's "Click It or Ticket" program.
   "Through those discussions, we determined the Nashville Sounds represent all eight minor league teams, so we liked the thought of working with minor league baseball because of demographics," he said.
   Victorine said people who attend minor league baseball represent a variety of ages and economic backgrounds, which is beneficial for promoting highway safety awareness. According to Victorine, the state's highway safety office, via the federal government, gave $350,000 toward marketing efforts such as posters, mascots and "clickers."
   Mains said he was most impressed by an essay contest the Twins are helping promote. Participants pay $15 and write an essay titled "Why Buckle Up?" written in their own words. Awards will be given according to age group, and winners will be recognized on the field prior to the Twins game on July 11.