Clubs think pink on Mother's Day

Clubs think pink on Mother's Day

From Yankee Stadium in New York to AT&T Park in San Francisco, it was a day to think pink around Major League Baseball.

Culminating a weeklong initiative designed to create awareness about breast cancer and the importance of early detection as well as raise funds to help fight the disease, Major League Baseball had special Mother's Day programs at all 15 home ballparks.

Players wore pink wristbands and pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness were displayed on player uniforms as well as on all on-field personnel. Specially designed pink bats, supplied by Louisville Slugger, were used by some players and the pink ribbon logo appeared on the bases and on commemorative home plates. Players also checked out the batting orders on pink dugout lineup cards.

The pink plates, bats and lineup cards will be team-autographed and auctioned off on at a later date to raise additional funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. From May 7 through Saturday, fans and players were able to log onto and make a monentary pledge for each strikeout thrown during that period to benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

"It's a great cause, a great idea," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "I hope they raise a lot of money."

The pink bats drew a lot of attention, and several hitters showed quickly it's the swing that produces hits -- not the color of the bat.

Yankees left-hander Randy Johnson will vouch for that the pink bats can make a pitcher feel blue. Of the eight Oakland hitters who came up against Johnson in the first inning on Sunday, four used pink bats. Those hitters were a combined 3-for-4. Mark Ellis led off with a pink-bat single. One out later, Mark Kotsay had a pink-bat homer to right field. Jason Kendall later doubled with a pink bat.

"That's the beauty of this game," Yankees infielder Andy Phillips said. "They think of creative things to do to help a good cause, and that's exactly what this is."

In Atlanta, the Braves recognized more than 300 breast cancer survivors. Their family, friends and the Braves Wives surrounded the field and unleashed a stream of pink balloons to signify hope that a cure for breast cancer will be found.

Kyle Davies, whose mother, Carolyn, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, caught the ceremonial first pitch and the Shades of Pink Breast Cancer Mass Choir delivered the national anthem. The Braves gave a free lower-level tickets to breast cancer survivors and provided them with a pregame reception.

At Jacobs Field in Cleveland, a huge pink ribbon was stretched out in center field. Kate Wedge, wife of manager Eric Wedge, threw out a ceremonial first pitch and was joined by Nina Wedge, Eric's mother, who is a breast cancer survivor. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays provided pink visors to the first 7,500 women attending Sunday's game against Toronto. In addition, carnations were given to the first 2,000 women.

St. Louis regulars Jim Edmonds and David Eckstein were among the players who used a pink bat on Sunday.

"It was an opportunity to honor my mom," Edmonds said. "I also wanted to make people aware of breast cancer. If you look at the numbers with breast cancer both in men and women, you really don't think about it and you wait too long -- it is one of those things to help keep the awareness up."

Eckstein sent a message of love to his mother on her special day by using the pink bat.

"She taught me discipline," Eckstein said. "I just wanted her to know how much she has meant to me."

Prior to the Angels-Mariners game at Angel Stadium, Tim Salmon presented flowers to five mothers and their children. Each child submitted a 25-word essay on why his or her mother was the best. Grand prize winner Carrie Mason (mother) and Monique Mason (daughter) were awarded the first pitch. Four runners-up prizes were also awarded, including batboy and the opportunity to deliver the "play ball" call prior to game time.

In Milwaukee, players presented the moms with flowers, and Doug Davis, Prince Fielder, Bill Hall -- who swatted a walk-off homer with the special lumber -- used the pink bats.

"I put my wife's name on there," said Fielder, who is married to Chanel and has two sons. "She'll appreciate that, so it's good."

Several players around Major League Baseball, including Fielder, talked before Sunday's games about continuing to use the pink bats if they had productive days. But Milwaukee clubhouse boss Tony Migliaccio reminded everyone the bats were approved for use only on Sunday.

It was a day for reflection, awareness and celebration of moms everywhere. At 15 Major League ballparks, where "think pink" was a common denominator, an important message was delivered in living color.

Robert Falkoff is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.