Supporters of contest participants have the opportunity to vote online for these inspirational stories. Winners will receive pink MLB merchandise and be recognized during their favorite club's pre-game ceremonies on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 14th. Clubs on the road during the holiday will select another home game to recognize their Honorary Bat Girl.
A panel featuring several guest judges and an online public vote at HonoraryBatGirl.com will help select the winning submissions based on the following criteria: quality of submission in describing the nominee's personal connection to breast cancer, the nominee's commitment to the battle against breast cancer through education/awareness/fundraising/additional efforts, and public appeal (as determined by the public online vote). Each judge will review a portion of the submissions, and their rankings will be considered in the selection process.
Uzo Aduba, Emmy Award-winning star of the hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) ambassador, will serve as a guest judge on the panel in honor of her friends and family affected by cancer. Brenda Song, star of CBS drama Pure Genius and SU2C ambassador, will also serve as a guest judge on the panel in honor of her mother who has fought breast cancer four times. Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, who lost his maternal grandmother to breast cancer, will return as a guest judge for this year's contest. Oakland Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien will serve on the panel in honor of his best friend's mother who is a breast cancer survivor. Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon is a guest judge for his mom, Leslie, who is a breast cancer survivor. Brock Holt from the Boston Red Sox also will serve on the panel as part of his continuing efforts to support the cause against cancer, which include time and financial commitments to The Jimmy Fund and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Miami Marlins first baseman Justin Bour and Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff will each serve on the panel for the first time. Eickhoff's aunt is battling breast cancer for the third time.
ESPN's Holly Rowe and Shelley Smith, both of whom are breast cancer survivors, will join the judging panel for the first time. Co-host of MLB Network's Intentional Talk Chris Rose and MLB Network studio host Kelly Nash as well as Lindsay Berra and Alyson Footer from MLB.com will also serve as guest judges for this year's contest. Rose has had several close friends who have been affected by the disease, while Nash is an active supporter of women's health initiatives. Berra has several close friends who have been affected by the disease while Footer lost her mother to cancer and has an aunt who is a breast cancer survivor.
On Mother's Day, players and on-field personnel will wear the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wrist bands. Players also will wear specially-designed uniforms that incorporate pink into the Clubs' regular logos. Commemorative base jewels and dugout lineup cards also will be pink. Games will feature a pink-stitched Rawlings baseball, the official ball of MLB, as the official game ball. Many MLB players also will use pink bats, and pink Louisville Slugger bats, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. Many authenticated, game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats and other pink items from Mother's Day games will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com/auction to benefit the fight against breast cancer.
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 celebrated on Mother's Day. In eight years, thousands of unique testimonials have been submitted and more than 3 million fan votes have been cast. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a Major League Baseball initiative supported by MLB charitable partners, Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen. This initiative raises awareness about the breast cancer cause, while also raising funds to support breast cancer research.
For more information, please visit HonoraryBatGirl.com.