MLB banning breast cancer bats

Published On May 11, 2013 | By Arielle Aronson

In what has become a wonderful tradition on Mother’s Day, Major League Baseball players are set to don pink bats, wristbands and cleats to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. Unfortunately this season, the MLB is allowing its corporate friendships get in the way of a charitable effort.

According to a report from Yahoo! Sports, the MLB is refusing to allow Baltimore outfielder Nick Markakis and Minnesota third baseman Trevor Plouffe — whose mothers are both breast cancer survivors — from using pink bats sent to them by MaxBat. The reason? The MLB has a deal stipulating that only Louisville Slugger is allowed to have a pink logo on its bat. Other companies can send pink-colored bats to players as long as there are no pink logos or ribbons  on the bat.

Apparently, the reasoning behind this rule goes back to 2006, when the parent company of Louisville Slugger made a sizeable donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure in exchange for the MLB’s agreement to allow only Louisville Slugger to display its logo on pink bats.

Basically, both MLB and Louisville Slugger are putting corporate partnerships above charitable action.

Plouffe lashed out at Louisville Slugger via Twitter Friday, writing: Sorry Mom. I can’t use my Breast Cancer Awareness bat on Sunday because @sluggernation “owns the rights”. Because that’s what it’s about … Seriously disgusted that a company would block awareness for Breast Cancer research so their brand can stand out. Thanks @sluggernation!

Plouffe later deleted the tweets, although it is unclear whether he deleted them on his own volition or if someone from the MLB offices spoke with him. Later on Friday, Plouffe tweeted an apology of sorts.

What do you think of the pink bat controversy? Is Major League Baseball justified in their actions since Louisville Slugger did make a donation to Susan G. Komen, or should players be able to use any pink bat design of their choosing? Let us know in the comments below.


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About The Author

Arielle Aronson is a sports writer and recent graduate from Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Print Journalism Magna Cum Laude. Arielle has a passion for sports cultivated from growing up with two older brothers. She also enjoys playing the piano, reading and traveling.