Sunday, May 8, 2011

Break Out the Pink Bats

It's Mother's Day and for the sixth year many major leaguers will stride to the plate wielding pink bats. The color, of course, doesn't really affect the game -- notwithstanding Ron Santo's poor attempt at humor while broadcasting a Chicago Cubs game.

The bats are a way to raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer. The observance is in conjunction with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization. In 2009, baseball also started choosing honorary bat girls for the day.

The bat girls, who are breast-cancer survivors, are chosen by each team. It's a nice addition to the day. Of course, ball girls are not new as many teams have deployed them down the lines over the years. Perhaps most famously the Cubs (they seem to have problems in this area) hired and later dismissed Marla Collins, whom was the object of many Harry Caray sexist remarks and a spread in Playboy.

The Cubs travails aside, does bring awareness of breast cancer to many who might not be aware and raises money by auctioning off the pink bats. In addition to those bats, many players wear pink wristbands and the bases and home plate are adorned with a pink ribbon.

There have been some highlight-reel (how's that for an anachronism in the digital age?) moments at Mother's Day games, made all the more memorable by the players having their moms in the stands. Two performances stand out.

Last year, Dallas Braden hurled a perfect game for the Oakland A's and then told the world about how special it was because of the grandmother who had raised him. Perhaps the most amazing moment, was Bill Hall's walk-off home run for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2006, the first year the pink bats were used. Hall's mother was watching and it was all captured for posterity.

So, this afternoon, all the major league moms will be watching and all the sons will be trying to carve out their own special moments.

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