CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees, Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals will join Maria Menounos of Extra TV and Sam Ryan, MLB Network host and reporter, as the Guest Judging Panel for the 2013 Honorary Bat Girl program, which recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate a commitment to eradicating the disease.
The Guest Panel will aid in the selection process of one Honorary Bat Girl for each of the 30 MLB teams. Winners will be recognized by their respective Club between Mother's Day, May 12th, and May 31st. The program includes strong support from countless players throughout the League who are personally committed to the fight against breast cancer.
The Guest Panel features Sabathia, who is a returning Honorary Bat Girl panelist and who has dealt with cancer within his family; Kemp, who has been a long-time champion of the cause and who is inspired by fans like friend Katie Ortega, an 18 year old in remission from AML Leukemia; McCutchen, whose grandmother is a breast cancer survivor; and Gordon, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor. The Guest Panel will also include Menounos, whose cousin is a breast cancer survivor; and Ryan, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor.
Fans are encouraged to share inspirational stories that they or loved ones may have or currently are experiencing that provide hope and motivation in the fight against breast cancer, as well as the reasons they or their nominees should represent their favorite team. Entries can be submitted by men and women who are breast cancer survivors, advocates and/or supporters of the cause at honorarybatgirl.com, a website powered by MLB.com, and will be accepted until the submission period closes on April 22 at 12:01am ET.
During MLB's annual Mother's Day national day of recognition, one Honorary Bat Girl per MLB Club will take part in pre-game activities, be honored during an on-field ceremony and receive pink MLB merchandise with two tickets to the game. For Clubs that are away on Mother's Day, another home game in May will be selected to recognize their Honorary Bat Girl.
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 four years, over 4,000 testimonials have been submitted and more than 10 million fan votes have been cast. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a Major League Baseball initiative supported by its charitable partners Stand Up to Cancer and Susan G. Komen. This initiative has set out to raise awareness about the breast cancer cause, while also raising funds to support life saving breast cancer research.
On every Mother's Day since 2006, hundreds of MLB players have used 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 have worn the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wrist bands. Commemorative dugout lineup cards also have been pink. Game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother's Day games have been auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer.