No sports today. Let’s talk about Mom.
Not my mom, in particular, though she was a saint in her own right.
Rather, this column is devoted to the moms we honor today. The soccer moms. The baseball moms. The moms who were always there for us.
And, yes, the moms who maybe now need us the most.
The pink bats, pink-billed caps and pink uniform trim worn and used by Major League Baseball players this Mother’s Day weekend is not meant to be a gimmick, but a reminder.
If the pink gear raises breast cancer awareness in even one woman, one mom, MLB’s initiative is worth it. Proceeds from the sale and auctions of the Mother’s Day items will go toward baseball’s Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer program.
Around the internet this weekend, players have been given the chance to pay tribute to their moms or honor their memories.
In Colorado, the Rockies shuffled their rotation, giving pitcher Antonio Senzatela the Mother’s Day start. Senzatela’s mom, Nidya, passed away from cancer in July of last year. She was 52. He will pitch Sunday with a gold rosary, his mom’s, in his back pocket.
Infielder Trevor Plouffe of the Oakland Athletics, the Texas Rangers’ guests this weekend, shared his story online with Jane Lee of MLB.com. Plouffe’s mother, Diane, is not only a breast cancer survivor, but also a nurse who works on the oncology floor of her hospital so that she can help counsel other cancer patients.
Around the two leagues, baseball teams will recognize courageous women who have been chosen as their Honorary Bat Girl. The Rangers’ honoree is Kim Locke, raised in Arlington and a lifelong baseball fan.
On Jan. 4, Kim was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. She will throw out Sunday’s first pitch.
The nomination letters of each team’s Honorary Bat Girl can be found online at MLB.com, and their stories will both inspire you and, in many cases, break your heart.
The Toronto Blue Jays’ honoree is Katherine Davidson, diagnosed with breast cancer at age 26. She spent her honeymoon being treated at the cancer clinic.
The New York Yankees’ honorary bat girl is Kristin Mindo. At age 36, she learned she had stage 2 breast cancer three days after last Christmas.
When Kristin discovered that chemotherapy was causing her to lose her hair, she went to the salon and told the owner to give her the clippers. She wanted to defiantly do it herself.
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Her story on MLB.com shows a photo of the moment. Kristin’s goal: visit all 30 major league ballparks. She’s up to 16.
The Athletics’ honorary bat girl, Jessica Reid, has published a book, “Cancer Hates Kisses,” hoping to empower women in their recoveries. The Red Sox bat girl, Fabianna Marie, has been battling breast cancer for 12 years and chronicled her fight in an award-winning book, “Fabulously Fighting.”
The Padres’ honoree, Wendy Shurelds, has turned her own fight against cancer into a platform to educate African-American women on the need to take control of their health.
The weekend is meant to honor all mothers, of course. Toronto’s Marcus Stroman pitched with a special tribute – “Love You Momma!” – inscribed on his spikes.
Rangers fans will want to see Reid Ryan’s tribute to his mom, Ruth. As the First Family of Texas Baseball (the state, if no longer this franchise), the Ryans will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next month.
Reid Ryan, the Astros’ president of business operations, included a notable anecdote. While dad was away pitching, it was his mom Ruth who coached the Ryan boys in the Alvin Little League.
Moms can do anything, of course. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
Hugs yours today if you can. Go to bat for the ones who need it.
Gil LeBreton: @gilebreton