Major League Baseball today announced the 30 winners of the 2013 Honorary Bat Girl Contest that recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate a commitment to eradicating the disease. The winner of the Honorary Bat Girl Contest for the Detroit Tigers is Tracie Kania, who will be recognized in a pregame ceremony this Sunday, May 12th.
Tracie Kania was diagnosed with IIIB inflammatory breast cancer at the age of 32. She endured 27 grueling weeks of chemotherapy, which included 33 radiation sessions. She had very supportive family and friends that helped her get through the difficult process and will proudly be a five-year breast cancer survivor in October. She is committed to helping find a cure for breast cancer and is now a representative for the Race for the Cure benefitting Komen for a Cure, a fundraiser for The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and a participant in Bras for a Cause supporting Gilda's Club of Metro Detroit. The Tigers will provide Tracie with complimentary game tickets for her and her family on Sunday, recognize her, along with other breast cancer survivors, during an on-field, pregame ceremony and provide her the opportunity to throw the ceremonial first pitch. Tracie will also receive a special Honorary Bat Girl jersey, a Rawlings pink stitched baseball, a certificate of recognition signed by Commissioner Selig along with other breast health awareness items.
Fans across the country shared inspirational stories that provide hope and motivation in the fight against breast cancer, as well as the reasons they or their nominees should represent their favorite team. The 30 Honorary Bat Girl winners were selected by fan votes on HonoraryBatGirl.com along with feedback from a Guest Judging Panel that included CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees, Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals, Maria Menounos of Extra TV and Sam Ryan, MLB Network host and reporter.
Louisville Slugger, the official bat of MLB, will introduce a new design element to their iconic pink bats that are used by hundreds of players throughout the League on Mother's Day. The hot pink color was introduced in 2012 and this year, it will include the new Louisville Slugger logo, which changed on MLB's Opening Day, marking the bat maker's first logo change in 33 years and only the second significant change in its 129 years in professional baseball. Louisville Slugger and MLB first introduced the pink bat program on Mother's Day in 2006. Fans can obtain their own personalized pink bat by going to going to shop.mlb.com or sluggergifts.com. Game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother's Day games will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer.
To further demonstrate their support for the breast cancer cause, players and on-field personnel will wear the symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms along with pink wrist bands. Commemorative base jewels and dugout lineup cards will also be pink.
The Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative celebrated on Mother's Day. In four years, over 4,000 testimonials have been submitted and more than 10 million fan votes have been cast. Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer is a Major League Baseball initiative supported by its charitable partners Stand Up to Cancer, a charitable program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This initiative has set out to raise awareness about the breast cancer cause and funds to support life saving breast cancer research.