Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., said: "The very nature of our sport calls for us to be not only cognizant of potentially harmful rays but also active against the dangers of exposure. For our fans, our on-field personnel and baseball and softball players at every level, Major League Baseball is proud to work alongside all 30 Clubs and the American Academy of Dermatology in raising awareness and sharing tips on how to play safe in the sun. We encourage everyone to be vigilant in protecting their skin and to get regular check-ups from board-certified dermatologists."
Clubs will activate the program in a variety of ways, including first pitches and on-field ceremonies for special guests affected by skin cancer, young fans delivering sunscreen to dugouts, a league-wide scoreboard race, which was introduced in 2013 to educate fans about playing safe in the sun, and more. Additionally, MLB players, coaches and staff from all 30 Clubs will serve as role models for fans by participating in skin cancer screenings and practicing sun-safe behaviors throughout the season.
USA Baseball, the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the United States, is joining the effort in 2015 with a commitment to education and the proliferation of the Play Sun Smart initiative. USA Baseball will share AAD-approved, Play Sun Smart safety tips with thousands of participants, parents and fans across its amateur events nationwide.
Since 1999, Academy dermatologists have conducted nearly 37,000 skin cancer screenings through the Play Sun Smart program. More than 1,200 suspicious lesions have been detected, including 155 melanomas, through the Play Sun Smart club screenings. Just like players and Club employees, fans are asked to practice safe sun behaviors and to find a free skin cancer screening in their area by visiting the Academy's website at PlaySunSmart.org.
Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Early detection of skin cancer is essential as skin cancer is highly curable if detected early and treated promptly. Fans can spot skin cancer early by regularly looking over their entire bodies, including the back, scalp, soles, between the toes and on the palms. If there are any changes in the size, color, shape or texture of a mole, if a new mole develops or any other unusual changes in the skin occur, fans are encouraged to make an appointment to see their dermatologist immediately.
The Play Sun Smart program is one of several cancer-related initiatives supported by Major League Baseball. Other initiatives include Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), whose mission is to support groundbreaking scientific research aimed at getting new cancer treatments to patients quickly; the Mother's Day Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer initiative, which is a program to help increase awareness of breast cancer and raise money towards the search for a cure; and the Prostate Cancer Foundation's Home Run Challenge, which helps increase awareness of prostate cancer and raise money for the search for a cure as part of the MLB Father's Day celebration. To learn more about sun safety and the Play Sun Smart program and also Major League Baseball's various charitable initiatives, please visit MLBCommunity.org.