MINNEAPOLIS — An annual Major League Baseball undertaking to provide exposure and money to cancer-awareness charities became embroiled in a bit of a controversy Friday, with an Oriole being one of the players inadvertently involved.
On Sunday, as part of its Mother’s Day celebration, participating players will wear and use pink equipment — to bring more awareness to breast cancer issues — as they have since 2006. The items will then be auctioned off with proceeds going to charities including Susan G. Komen For The Cure, which has championed breast cancer research for decades.
The equipment used is from MLB’s corporate sponsors in the initiative, including batmaker Louisville Slugger, which provides pink bats to the players.
Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis and Minnesota Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe, whose mothers are breast cancer survivors, wanted to participate in the program. But they were told that their black bats with pink logos — made by Minnesota manufacturer MaxBat and delivered on Friday — would not be permitted by Major League Baseball.
That had Plouffe, who tweeted his opposition to the decision, and Markakis a little unsettled.
“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,” said Markakis, whose mother, Mary Lou, beat breast cancer about a decade ago. “So I guess you could say it is a little disappointing. But I guess the rules are the rules, right?”
The reserved Markakis said he wasn’t going to make an issue of the decision.
“If I said something (to MLB) would it really make a difference?” Markakis said. “No, I doubt it. Is what it is. You’ve got to abide by the rules, right?”