Gausman carries strong voice on Mother's Day

Gausman carries strong voice on Mother's Day

Major League Baseball's initiative for Mother's Day hits home for Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, whose maternal grandmother passed away from breast cancer before the right-hander was born.

In fact, Gausman -- for the second time in two years -- helped select the winner of the Orioles' Honorary Bat Girl contest, Crystal Silins, who will be recognized in a pregame ceremony on Sunday. Silins, a breast cancer survivor, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and will receive pink MLB merchandise, as well as tickets to Sunday's game against the A's. But that wasn't enough for Gausman.

Orioles Mother's Day Collection

"One of the biggest things that was tough for me was you are given three finalists and they are told they are finalists and only one wins," said Gausman, who will give up his allotment of game tickets for Baltimore's May 14 game against Detroit to the other two finalists. "I think that's awesome. Who is to say their story isn't special enough to get them Honorary Bat Girl?"

Gausman is more than happy to help raise awareness of breast cancer and support those who have been affected by the disease. He never met his grandmother, Minedale Augusta Carlson, but when the right-hander called home last year to tell his mother about his involvement with MLB's Mother's Day initiative, she couldn't hold back her emotions.

"I remember calling my mom and her crying about it," Gausman said. "It's something she has to get routinely checked because it is in our family. And she was really happy that this is something I'm part of. This year, I'm actually here [in the Majors] more so I'm looking forward to doing more."

On Sunday, Gausman and the rest of the team will be wearing pink jerseys that will be auctioned off at www.orioles.com/auctions to benefit the Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation. Commemorative base jewels and dugout lineup cards will also be pink, as will game-used Louisville Slugger bats and other pieces of memorabilia to be auctioned off in the fight against breast cancer.

"It's something my mom is proud I'm a part of," Gausman said. "There's no other disease that's been in my family that I can contribute to. When I picked [Crystal], I think the fact that she was newly married and wanted to have children [was significant]. If you know anything about chemo, it doesn't really give you a chance to have kids. One of the things that stood out to me was she and her husband went out and adopted. Going through chemo and all those things and having the strength to go and adopt? That's got to be something that's tough to do. I commend her for that."

Silins and her husband, Aaron, adopted their daughter, Brianna, in November 2014. Crystal endured a bilateral mastectomy, more than a year of various chemotherapy treatments, six weeks of radiation and nine surgeries after being diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2013. On Sunday, Gausman and other players and teams around MLB will do their part to make Mother's Day an opportunity to do good.

"It's pretty awesome what they do," Gausman said. "That and Father's Day. It's one day where you get to think about something other than how you are doing on the field. You get to think about your family, and that's touched me, definitely."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.