Photo Credit: Jon Jay (via Twitter)
Take a look at Jon Jay’s twitter photo. He has a pink bat, one of only two Cardinals players (Matt Holliday the other) that were allowed to use one in yesterday’s game–a day that is supposed to be dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness across the country. Jon Jay and Matt Holliday were the only two players on the Cardinals allowed to use pink bats because they use bats made by Louisville Slugger–the exclusive pink bat sponsor of the MLB.
Take another look. His shoes are white and red with a hint of pink inside the Nike Swoosh. He was not allowed to wear pink shoes in the game (and will most likely be fined for the little bit of pink in these shoes). Why? Because the MLB struck a deal with Under Armour giving them exclusive rights to pink cleats on Mother’s Day.
Let’s analyze the numbers a little bit now.
Matt Mirchin, senior vice president of sports marketing at Under Armour, said that around 100 players wear Under Armour shoes. Thus, based on the exclusivity rights sent forth by the MLB for Mother’s Day baseball, less than 15% of the players were able to wear pink shoes on Sunday. I understand that Under Armour has agreed to make a donation for cancer research in order to get these rights, but isn’t the day also about awareness as a whole?
I fully understand that baseball is a business, but for the sake of mothers and breast cancer patients across the nation, can’t the MLB forget about business for just one special day? Not counting this one day, there are 2,415 games through which the MLB can make money. Also, if the MLB puts on a proper breast cancer awareness day, it makes the League look better as a whole and could lead to more sponsorships from companies that have a female target audience.
In regards to the bat situation, at least the majority of players, including stars like Joey Votto, Buster Posey, and David Wright, use Louisville Slugger bats, but still, shouldn’t the Major Leagues want more than just the majority to be using pink bats to promote breast cancer awareness? I know that the players wore pink ribbons on their jerseys and were provided with pink sweatbands, but awareness is spread much more through bats and cleats because they stand out more.
In conclusion, I feel like the MLB was in the wrong here, and it casts a dark shadow over their motive for even having a day like this in the first place. If a player wants to use a pink bat or wear pink shoes to promote awareness, especially if he knows someone personally affected by the disease, he should be able to regardless of what company makes his bats and cleats. Using pink bats and wearing pink cleats is a wonderful idea by the MLB, but if the organization truly wants to promote awareness, they need to revamp the entire process.
Until next time…