MLB Helps Strike Out Cancer
Breast cancer is a major problem in the United States, but increasing awareness about the need for regular checkups and treatment research has helped tremendously. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but not every sponsor shows support during this month. Since 2006, Major League Baseball (MLB) has held the Mother’s Day Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer program in the spring. Every MLB team joins in the effort during this time, and fans are given an opportunity to purchase breast cancer awareness merchandise.
Breast Cancer Statistics
Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer among women in the United States. It is estimated that one in eight U.S. women will develop breast cancer at some point during their lives. Among cancer deaths in women, breast cancer is surpassed only by lung cancer as the leading cause.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 226,870 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in 2012, and 39,510 women will die of the disease during the year. However, breast cancer is not limited to women. In 2012, another 2,190 men will be diagnosed with the disease, and approximately 410 men will die due to breast cancer complications.
Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer
The Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer program is now in its sixth year. The goals of the program are to raise general awareness of breast cancer, promote preventative measures, educate about treatment and help find a cure.
Although the program runs from March to May, the primary event is on Mother’s Day when all MLB players wear pink ribbons, cleats and wristbands. In addition, players trade out their usual bats for pink Louisville Sluggers, and coaches submit pink lineup cards to game officials.
Beginning in 2009, MLB began allowing each team to choose an honorary bat girl to work with the team bat boy. All bat girls are breast cancer survivors, from the families of breast cancer survivors or supporters of breast cancer awareness.
After the day’s games are finished, most players graciously autograph the items they used in the game, and fans are allowed to place bids on the breast cancer awareness merchandise. Fans who do not win any bids can also purchase replica bats and other items online.
Each year, MLB promises to raise a minimum of $50,000 through the program, and since 2006, MLB has donated over $1 million to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.