Now it is your turn again.
The final step in this now-traditional touch to baseball's regular season is the friendly competition for ownership of the same pink bats used by the players. The first batch of those bats just showed up at the MLB.com Auction, so let the bidding begin, with all proceeds going directly to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
It is your chance to obtain a one-of-a-kind collectible that is at once breathtaking to look at and a blast to show off as a conversation piece. Besides those game-used bats, the auction again includes pink bats signed by each team, as well as autographed home plates and dugout lineup cards that were used on Mother's Day.
If you don't see the specific player's bat you are seeking, then remember that this is a rolling auction so the bats are posted in batches over the course of weeks at the MLB.com Auction. The players have done their part, and now it is the fans' turn to step up and contribute in the interest of funding further treatment and scientific research into a cure for an insidious disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 182,460 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to occur among women in the United States during 2008. An estimated 40,480 women will die from breast cancer. It is estimated that 1,990 men will be diagnosed and 450 men will die of breast cancer during 2008. In addition to invasive breast cancer, 67,770 new cases of in situ breast cancer are expected to occur among women in 2008. Of these, approximately 85 percent will be ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
Here is a sampling of what's available now:
Josh Hamilton. Are you kidding? Any bat swung by this cover boy could be worth a ton among collectors. The Rangers outfielder entered the week with 76 RBIs, on pace for a 160-RBI season. Using a pink bat on Mother's Day, Hamilton doubled and tripled and drove in one of those runs.
Cubs Team Signed Commemorative Home Plate. It was the Cubs' 22nd victory of the year, and Derrek Lee was among six Cubs who trampled on home plate after he homered in a 6-4 victory over Arizona. The pink-beribboned plate was yanked, signed by all the Cubs, and it can be yours. Bidding will be ridiculous. Anything and everything right now has possible extreme memorabilia power behind it if you are a Cubs fan. Just consider what happened when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series.
Pink Papi. Just because David Ortiz is David Ortiz. If any other bat draws higher bidding it will be considered the shocker of the auction. He was 2-for-4 swinging the pink lumber in a 9-8 loss at Minnesota on Mother's Day.
Boston teammates Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury are among those with pink bats now up for bidding. Jason Varitek did not play that day, but his pink catcher's equipment is scheduled to be auctioned. It is not listed in the first wave, so stay tuned for that stuff.
Craig Monroe. Ortiz's Red Sox lost that game largely because of Monroe, the offseason pickup from Detroit. He hit a three-run homer in the fifth and then provided the winning blow with a solo shot in the seventh. "What a day for that," Monroe said, calling it a tribute to his mother, who watched the game at home in Texas. "My mom is my biggest supporter. She has to be jumping up and down at home."
Twins teammates Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are among those with game-used pink bats in this auction as well.
Evan Longoria. It was a huge 8-5 victory for Tampa Bay to complete a three-game sweep of the Angels, and the rookie sensation played his part with a sac fly using a pink bat. Projected bidding for a Longoria-signed pink bat: very high. Collector's can't seem to get enough from this dude.
Nick Swisher. OK, so what if he went 0-for-4 that day? "For us, we're just a bunch of big kids in here," said the White Sox outfielder, who fashioned pink-tainted hair and a pink goatee to match the pink bat he swung. "To be able to go out and represent your mother or grandmother on a day like this, you want to go out there and let everyone know how much you do love those people."
Ryan Church. If the Mets' resurgence results in a postseason berth, then a lot of credit will be given to Church, who was playing at a high level while much of the team was struggling. On Mother's Day, he hit a big homer in the fifth inning of an 8-3 victory over the Reds. You can have the bat he used. Carlos Delgado's, too.
Yankees and Red Sox Team Signed Commemorative Home Plates. Because they are the Yankees and Red Sox, and because they don't like each other and somewhere out there are two fans who each want to show the other that their plate is better.
Lance Berkman. The last National Leaguer to win the Triple Crown was Joe Medwick of the Cardinals in 1937, and there is no record of Ducky swinging a pink bat that year. Of course, considering that hardly anyone was allowed to call him "Ducky" in person, it's also doubtful he would have swung a pink bat that season. Times have changed just a little. Berkman could be the first NL Triple Crown winner since then, and you can have the signed pink bat he was issued for Houston's 8-5 victory over the Dodgers on Mother's Day.
Fans also can purchase a pink Louisville Slugger at the MLB.com Shop, and $10 of each sale goes to Komen. The bat will say "Mother's Day 2008" on the barrel.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.