Major League Baseball is breaking out the pink bats for Mother’s Day.
Hulking Jim Thome. Rugged Manny Ramirez. Brawny Adam Dunn. “The thought of these big macho men, swinging pink bats to help women with breast cancer … what a novel idea,” Louisville Slugger president John Hillerich said Tuesday. Major League Baseball granted special permission for players to use the colorful bats – baby pink, at that – for Mother’s Day. They’re part of a weeklong program to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Derek Jeter, David Eckstein and Marcus Giles are among dozens of players who intend to try them Sunday. This is the first time pink has been approved for bats – dyed at the Louisville Slugger factory, they’re usually black, brown, reddish or white.
Kevin Mench was among several Texas players who wanted their mother’s names burned on the bats. The Rangers slugger, who homered in seven straight games earlier this season, also planned to have a bat for his grandmother, who died from breast cancer. “My mom is the glue of our family, and I just want to do something to thank her for all that she has done,” Mench said before Tuesday night’s game against Minnesota. “At the same time, we are raising money for a great cause.”
Along with the pink bats, players and all on-field personnel will wear pink wristbands and a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness on their uniforms. The pink ribbon logo will appear on the bases and on commemorative home plates, and the lineups will be written on pink cards. The bats, along with the home plates and lineup cards, will be autographed by the teams and will be auctioned off later with the proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Foundation.
A nice gesture, to be sure.
Still, I always have the same questions about these things: Does MLB favor breast cancer every other day? And what about the diseases/causes whose logos they aren’t wearing?
Further, presuming symbolism actually matters, why breast cancer? It’s sufficiently ubiquitous that you’d have to be a dolt not to be aware of it. No one that I’m aware of opposes finding a cure for it. Why not use the media spotlight of MLB to highlight a less celebrated cause?
Update: Aaron Brazell is troubled by the idea of “Barry Bonds breaking the Babe’s homerun record using a pink bat.”
Update: Jeff Vreeland asks, “Are we going to have Blue Bases for Prostate Cancer on Fatherâ€™s Day?” They’d better, unless they want to send the message that they hate men and want them to die.