Pink bat delivers homer for Swisher
Mother's Day initiative raises awareness of breast cancer
BOSTON -- Nick Swisher wanted to let his mom know that he was thinking about her during Sunday's Yankees-Red Sox tilt, so he plotted an inside gesture -- before his first at-bat, he'd step out of the batter's box and remove his helmet.
Imagine the elation when he one-upped that private moment for Lillian Swisher in front of a national television audience, using a pink Louisville Slugger bat to send a home run soaring over the Green Monster in left field in the fourth inning of the Yankees' 9-3 loss.
"Today was the first game that she was able to [watch] because she's been traveling around, and she told me, 'You'd better do something your first at-bat to let me know you're thinking about me,'" Swisher said. "I know she was watching tonight. It was very, very meaningful for me."
Pink bats have become annual Mother's Day symbols as part of an overall "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 and lineup cards, as well as home plates and logo bases.
Fans can also purchase their own personalized "Mother's Day 2009" pink bats right now for $79.99 apiece at the MLB.com Shop, with $10 from the sale of each one going to Komen.
Swisher has been an active participant -- in 2008 with the White Sox, he dyed his goatee pink on Mother's Day to raise awareness of breast cancer. He lost his grandmother, Betty, to cancer in 2005.
"Moms are everything, no doubt about it," Swisher said. "I'm fortunate to have a great mother, and any time you get to go out there and rock a pink bat, you definitely know your mom is watching. That was pretty special for me."
Five of the Yankees' seven hits on Sunday came off pink bats. In addition to Swisher's homer and eighth-inning single, Robinson Cano had two hits, including a run-scoring single, and Brett Gardner also notched a hit.
Yankees right-hander Joba Chamberlain, who didn't appear in the game, was also wearing a special necklace with the ribbon for breast cancer awareness, to be auctioned at a later date to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.