MLB seeking applicants for Honorary Bat Girl Contest

Entries are underway through April 16 for Major League Baseball's annual Honorary Bat Girl Contest, which will recognize one fan per MLB club who has been affected by breast cancer and has demonstrated a commitment to battling the disease.

Men and women 18 or older can share stories about themselves or loved ones who are "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" by visiting HonoraryBatGirl.com for a chance to be recognized on-field by their favorite team on Mother's Day, May 10. Fans also are invited to visit the site to vote for these inspirational stories, which are designed to provide hope and motivation for those currently in the fight against breast cancer.

During MLB's annual Mother's Day national day of recognition, one Honorary Bat Girl per club will take part in pregame activities -- including being recognized during an on-field ceremony -- and also receive pink MLB merchandise along with two tickets to the game. For clubs that are away on Mother's Day, another home game in May will be selected to recognize their Honorary Bat Girl.

"Each year with the Honorary Bat Girl program, Major League Baseball is able to celebrate and highlight amazing people and share their inspiring stories of battling breast cancer," said Jacqueline Parkes, MLB chief marketing officer. "Major League Baseball remains committed to the cause, and we thank all of our fans, clubs, partners, the players, Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen, for joining us as we do our part in eradicating this terrible disease."

Entries can be submitted by breast-cancer survivors, friends and family, advocates and/or supporters of the cause.

A panel of guest judges, including MLB players who are personally committed to the fight against breast cancer, will help select the winning submissions based on the following criteria: originality, quality of writing, demonstration of commitment to breast-cancer awareness and public appeal (as determined by online fan votes). Guest judges for the 2015 contest will be announced at a later date.

The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative, which is commemorated on Mother's Day. In six years, thousands of unique testimonials have been submitted, and more than four million fan votes have been cast. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is an MLB initiative supported by charitable partners Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen. The initiative raises awareness about breast cancer while also raising funds to support breast cancer research.

On every Mother's Day since 2006, hundreds of MLB players have used pink bats by Louisville Slugger, stamped with the MLB breast-cancer awareness logo. Once again, those game-used pink bats will be put up for bidding exclusively on the MLB.com Auction page to raise money to help fight breast cancer.

To further demonstrate their support for the breast-cancer cause, players and on-field personnel have worn the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms as well as pink wrist bands. Commemorative dugout lineup cards also have been pink and stamped with the pink ribbon logo. Visit MLBcommunity.org for additional information.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.