Via TSN -
Major League Baseball players will wear and use pink equipment Sunday on Mother’s Day in order to raise awareness and research funds for breast cancer, as has been the case since the 2006 season.
Following Sunday’s action, all of the game-used items will be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to charities (including Susan G. Komen For The Cure).
But, incredibly, that doesn’t mean the situation is free of controversy.
All of the official pink bats are supplied by Louisville Slugger, but not all players use Louisville Slugger bats. Among those who had planned to use bats made by another manufacturer are Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis and Minnesota Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe. Both players’ mothers are breast cancer survivors, and both players use bats made by MaxBat.
Markakis’ had custom-made black bats with pink logos delivered to him this week, according to The Baltimore Sun. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune notes Plouffe received a shipment of the same bats. But MLB will not allow those bats to be used Sunday because of its exclusive agreement with Louisville Slugger.
An upset Plouffe sent this tweet, which he later deleted: “Seriously disgusted that a company would block awareness for Breast Cancer research so their brand can stand out. Thanks @sluggernation !”
And Markakis also was disappointed.
“It would mean a little more to me with my mom being a breast cancer survivor and be able to support her in that way,” Markakis told The Baltimore Sun. “So I guess you could say it is a little disappointing. But I guess the rules are the rules, right?”
MLB and Louisville Slugger issued statements Friday that players are free to use any pink (or partially pink) bats that they would like Sunday, but that those other manufacturers must make a donation to the Komen Fund. However, The Baltimore Sun reports that non-Louisville Slugger bats cannot include “ribbons, corporate logos, distinguishing marks or names of charities.”
Thus, the bats supplied to Plouffe and Markakis aren’t permissible.
Ugh. This is one of my pet peeves. Every so often, an employer or another group will start something where they want everyone under their umbrella to donate to a particular charity. (Years ago, I worked for a bank where they actually said “We expect everyone to sign on to have money deducted from your pay to support the United Way.”) I hate this stuff. No one should tell anyone how they should be charitable. People should be able to choose how they want to be charitable or not. So, if a player wants to donate money or raise awareness for the National Breast Cancer Coalition, or, for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, instead of doing it for the Komen Fund, then he should be punished and not allowed to use a bat to raise awareness? Really? That’s just stupid.