Honorary Bat Girl contest winner for Padres to be recognized at Petco May 1

Major League Baseball announced the 30 winners of the 2012 Honorary Bat Girl program, which recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate a commitment to “Going to Bat” in the fight against the disease.  The winner of the Honorary Bat Girl Contest for the San Diego Padres is Sandy Sibley of Pacific Beach.

Sibley, a first-grade teacher at Birdrock Elementary School, was nominated for this honor by her son, Scott. Describing his mother as devoted and attentive, Scott detailed in his essay the day, 11 years ago, he found out she had breast cancer: “I was in junior high school and there was no way to properly comprehend the thought of losing the person who had always been both a rock in my life and the reason I’ve been a lifelong Padres fan and season ticket holder.” According to her nomination, Sibley didn’t back down when faced with the challenge of her life: “Being the fighter that she is, my mom successfully went through a double mastectomy and has been cancer free ever since!”

Because the team is on the road on Mother’s Day, Sibley, a Padres Season Ticket Holder since 1996, will be recognized on the field before the Padres game against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, May 18. The Padres will host Sibley and five guests for an exclusive experience, and will provide her with pink ribbon MLB merchandise.

Sibley is one of the 30 winners, one for each MLB Club.   Each winner was selected by a Guest Judging Panel that includes MLB players and celebrities in addition to fan votes casted on HonoraryBatGirl.com.

Nine-time Grammy award winner Bonnie Raitt, who lost her brother and close friends to cancer, recorded a special video at the MLB Fan Cave to lend her support to the Honorary Bat Girl initiative and the ongoing fight to eradicate the disease.  The video, which will run online and in-stadium, can be seen here.

The Guest Judging Panel that helped select the 30 winners included MLB players Joe Blanton of the Philadelphia Phillies, whose mom is a breast cancer survivor; Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves, whose aunt passed away from lung cancer; Howie Kendrick of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, whose best friend’s mom is a breast cancer survivor; and Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants, whose mom was affected by cancer.  Also on the Guest Panel was MLB Network host Chris Rose, who has several close friends who have been affected by the disease; international soccer star Mia Hamm, supporter of the Honorary Girl Initiative with former MLB player and current ESPN analyst Nomar Garciaparra, whose grandmother passed away from breast cancer; actor James Denton of Desperate Housewives, who lost his mother to breast cancer. 

Also on Mother’s Day, hundreds of MLB players are expected to use pink bats by Louisville Slugger, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. To further demonstrate their support for the breast cancer cause, players and on-field personnel will wear the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wrist bands. Commemorative dugout lineup cards also will be pink.

The Honorary Bat Girl Contest 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 2006, Major League Baseball created the “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” program.  Since its beginnings, MLB has continued to grow the program throughout the League and with all 30 Clubs to honor those affected by the disease. Along with MLB licensed partners and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, MLB raises awareness about the breast cancer cause. Game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother’s Day games that have been authenticated by MLB will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to benefit cancer research. To learn more about Major League Baseball’s charitable initiatives visit MLBCommunity.org.