PHOENIX -- Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Chris Snyder hopes that awareness has increased as much as the accessories. When Major League Baseball started the "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative in 2006, the pink bats were the only thing used in the promotion.
That's no longer the case.For example, D-backs third baseman Mark Reynolds had pink shoelaces, a lot of players used pink wrist bands and batting gloves, while others, like manager A.J. Hinch, even wore pink necklaces. "Now we have everything," Snyder said. "Some guys even have pink catching gear. It has definitely expanded and hopefully along with it is the awareness of breast cancer." Pink bats have become annual Mother's Day symbols as part of the "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative by Major League Baseball that raises awareness about breast cancer and directs proceeds to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Fans play the next big role in this process, because attention will move now to the MLB.com Auction and the gradual arrival of game-used pink bats, home plates and logo bases and lineup cards. Fans also can purchase their own personalized "Mother's Day 2010" pink bats right now for $79.99 apiece at the MLB.com Shop, with $10 from the sale of each one going to Komen. Breast cancer survivor Patti Parker-Phillips of Mesa, Ariz., served as honorary bat girl for Sunday's game after being selected as the D-backs' winner of a national campaign by MLB and Susan G. Komen for the Cure to recognize inspirational fans who have demonstrated a commitment to the cause. Parker-Phillips was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in August 2008 and took a proactive approach to treatment. She had the fourth-highest amount of pledges in Phoenix for the Komen 5K run. Closer Chad Qualls, who didn't make an appearance on Sunday, did his part by wearing pink wrist bands. He said his parents follow the D-backs' games from their California home and that his mom, Dotti, was a big help in the early years of his career. "I asked them all of the time how did they get me to all of those games," he said. "Parents make just as much of a sacrifice as the athlete because they are there every step of the way, too." Qualls said he talks to his parents every Sunday and he spent a little extra time on the phone with his mom on this special day. "So many people have been affected by breast cancer that you are grateful and blessed if everyone close to you is healthy," Qualls said. While the pink bats send a clear message, they didn't deliver a big impact in the game for the D-backs offense as Adam LaRoche drove in the only run in a 6-1 loss to Milwaukee.
Jason P. Skoda is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.