Major League Baseball announces winners of the 2017 Honorary Bat Girl Contest in advance of Mother's Day

One fan per club will be honored as part of Mother's Day and breast cancer awareness recognitions in MLB ballparks

Major League Baseball today announced the winners of the 2017 Honorary Bat Girl Contest, which recognizes fans who have been affected by breast cancer and have demonstrated a commitment to battling the disease. Winners will represent their favorite MLB Club, receive pink MLB merchandise, and be recognized during their club's pregame ceremonies on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 14th. Clubs on the road will select another home game to recognize their Honorary Bat Girl.

Also, MLB today announces that for the first time MLB players will have the opportunity to use pink bats on both Saturday, May 13th and Sunday, May 14th of Mother's Day weekend. Louisville Slugger, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, will donate proceeds from the sale of their pink bats, which will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo, to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer. Authenticated, game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats and other pink items from Mother's Day weekend games also will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com/auction to benefit the fight against breast cancer.  

Each of the Honorary Bat Girls winners' stories can be found on HonoraryBatGirl.com, with the complete list found in the separate attachment.

2017 Honorary Bat Girl winners were notified during the week of April 24th. Tragically, Lauren Smoke, the Honorary Bat Girl for the Chicago Cubs, lost her battle with breast cancer on Friday, April 28th. The Cubs plan to honor Lauren at Wrigley Field, with her family present, during a home stand after Mother's Day. 

During the Honorary Bat Girl contest entry timeline, fans from across the United States and Canada shared how they, or their loved ones, support the cause to raise awareness and find a cure for breast cancer. The winners were selected by a panel of judges, including special guests, who chose the winning submissions based on the following criteria: quality of writing and description of personal connection to breast cancer, demonstration of commitment to the battle against the disease and public appeal (as determined by online fan votes).

Special guests judges included the following: Uzo Aduba, Emmy Award-winning star of the hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) ambassador, Actress Brenda Song, star of CBS drama Pure Genius and SU2C ambassador, Kevin Gausman of the Baltimore Orioles, Marcus Semien of the Oakland Athletics, Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals, Brock Holt of the Boston Red Sox, Justin Bour of the Miami Marlins, Jerad Eickhoff of the Philadelphia Phillies, Brandon Phillips of the Atlanta Braves, and Chase Anderson of the Milwaukee Brewers. In addition, breast cancer survivors Holly Rowe and Shelley Smith of ESPN joined Kelly Nash & Chris Rose of MLB Network and Lindsay Berra & Alyson Footer of MLB.com as guest judges.

On Mother's Day weekend, players and on-field personnel also will wear the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wristbands. Players will wear specially-designed uniforms that incorporate pink into the Clubs' regular logos as well as caps highlighted by a graphite crown and pink visor and options from two different pairs of pink-infused socks. MLB will again donate its licensed uniform royalties to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer. Commemorative base jewels and dugout lineup cards also will be pink. Mother's Day games will feature a pink-stitched Rawlings baseball, the official ball of MLB, as the official game ball. In addition to the pink bats throughout Mother's Day weekend, the following game equipment can be used for breast cancer awareness: pink compression sleeves, pink batting gloves, pink footwear, pink wrist/elbow/leg guards and catcher's equipment. 

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 nine years, thousands of unique testimonials have been submitted and millions of 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.