Yesterday was MLB’s annual pink-out. You know the drill: pink ribbons, pink bats, pink cleats, pink wristbands, pink batting gloves, etc. Ugly as shit, worthy cause, blah-blah-blah — nothing new here.
Or is there? There’s a company in Ohio called Phoenix Bats. I’d never heard of them before yesterday, but their bats are used by a few MLBers, including Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and Billy Butler of the Royals, along with several top minor league prospects. Here’s what they posted yesterday on their Facebook page (with thanks to reader Jason Whitt, who brought this to my attention):
So we’ve been asked all week about players who will be swinging our pink bats in big league games and in the minors today. It’s the one day of the year pro players can swing a bat other than the allowed colors (black, brown, clear, natural, and variants thereof) as an effort to raise awareness of breast cancer.
Unfortunately, the answer is none of our players. Why? Because the powers that be have told all the pro-approved bat manufacturers, except one, that we can only provide pink bats without our logos and without any markings that would identify it as our bat. Plus they have told us that we must make a donation to their charity of choice. As an approved bat manufacturer, who has provided these pink bats, at no cost, to our players for years to help awareness and research monies, we find this to be a slap in the face. Not just to us, but to our players, our fellow pro-approved bat companies, and most importantly to those we are trying to raise awareness for.
But to do nothing is not the answer either. So in addition to our continued support of such causes outside of professional baseball, we have chosen to respond today by donating a portion from each sale of any full-size game or trophy bat purchase, from now until next Sunday, to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Just use coupon code PAINT IT PINK or consider making a donation directly to the Foundation or to a charity of your choice.
Thanks for your support to raise awareness and of our stand.
Interesting. Also disappointing. The one bat manufacturer exempt from the rule was obviously Louisville Slugger, whose logo was plainly visible on lots of pink lumber yesterday. Pretty fucked up that any outfitter or licensee would claim (or be granted) brand exclusivity for a charity venture. If that’s really what went down — and it’s worth noting that I haven’t had time to confirm or clarify any of this — then I’d say MLB and Louisville Slugger have some explaining to do.
If Louisville Slugger did in fact try gain marketing leverage over their competitors yesterday, that would make them the latest in a long line of corporations that have exploited breast cancer for commercial purposes. By handy coincidence, there’s a new movie about this very topic that’s about to be released, called Pink Ribbons, Inc. Here’s the trailer, which includes a passing reference to the NFL’s pink promotion (with thanks to reader Caleb Borchers):
Faaaascinating. Although other forms of cancer have decimated my family, I’m happy to say we’ve managed to avoid breast cancer. For those of you who’ve had the unfortunate experience of dealing with this disease (either directly or through someone close to you), what do you think of the pink? What do you think of Louisville Slugger — or any other company — having favored branding status yesterday?
Only 34 days until Father’s Day!
Uni Watch News Ticker: Brennan Boesch of the Tigers took things a step further yesterday by wearing two pink ribbons — one on his chest and one on his sleeve (from Samuel Lam). … Blue Jays pitcher Luis Perez was forced to change his undershirt on Thursday night because the one he was originally wearing had distracting stitching on the sleeves. Video of the incident is available here (from Justin Huyck). … Reprinted from Friday’s comments: Nike is adding golf ball-style dimples to a track suit. … Good story on how the WVU logo was developed (big thanks to Joe Sewash). … Here are the Olympic uniforms for the Japanese men’s and women’s gymnastics teams (from Jeremy Brahm). … Here’s a slideshow of the Broncos’ rookies getting fitted for their gear (from John Gagnon). … Frank Albanese DIY’d himself a 1979 Doug Flynn jersey. “I cheated a little because I purchased the wordmark and lettering kit,” he says. “The sleeve and neck piping were sewn onto a plain gray two-button jersey. Picked it up at Joanne’s fabrics. I had a little trouble with the neck piping, but all in all I think it came out okay.” … Over on the Sons of Sam Horn site, Peter Greenberg recently conducted a poll in which readers voted on the greatest Boston athletes to wear each uni number. You can see the results here. … Remember that Jetsons episode where pro football is played by robot players whose movements are controlled by coaches who push buttons and move levers? That future is now (from Dan Cichalski). … Another place that the NFL Equipment logo is still showing up: the Pats’ T-shirts and sweatshirts. The real question, of course, is whether the logo will still appear on Belichick’s hoodie (from Tom Adjemian). … Mark Armour posted this on the SABR-L listserv last Friday: “According to a Sports Illustrated story from 1963, Warren Giles ‘designed the first emblem for the National League, a device of ball, eagle, bat, gloves, stars and stripes, that he is currently revising. He must squeeze in two stars to represent the New York Mets and the Houston Colt .45s.’ A brief Google image search leads me to some newer [National League] emblems, and no mention of Giles. The current emblem has 16 stars, likely for the 16 (for this year, at least) teams. Did Giles design the first emblem, did he revise it, was it revised again with the addition of other teams, and how best can I see examples of the various versions?” All good questions. Anyone..? … Here’s a really superb look at Wellington Castillo’s forward-facing catcher’s helmet brim (big thanks to Matt DeLeon). … Check out the little name/number decal on Packers rookie Nick Perry’s helmet. Looks like other players have it as well. Not sure if this is just a rookie i.d. thing or if the Pack will be using that on all helmets this season (from Will Lemke.) … Here’s a very close look at the Giants’ G.I. Joe pandering cap. Gross (from Eddy Ayala). … Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillen was wearing orange stirrups prior to a recent game. I don’t think I’ve seen him (or any other Marlin) wearing anything hosiery color other than black up until now (from Taylor McGillis). … You know how a backup catcher will often warm up the pitcher between innings if the main catcher is busy strapping on his gear? Mets backup backstop Rob Johnson did that twice during Saturday’s Mets/Marlins game, but with a twist: When warming up R.A. Dickey, he wore full gear — chest protector, mask, shinguard, the works — because he didn’t wanna get hit by a wayward knuckleball. Never seen that before. When warming up reliever Bobby Parnell later in the game, he did it the usual way, just wearing his catcher’s mitt and no other gear. … Joshua Ringer found a coffee mug with a Michigan logo I’d never seen before. … Three soccer notes from Jon Forbes: Man U’s new set has the home kit in red, keeper in green; Liverpool’s new keeper kit includes a collared jersey; and there’s a new home kit for Wigan Athletic. … Oregon track wore Prefontaine-era throwbacks over the weekend, but the effect was ruined by the mark of the beast. More photos here (from Jim McDonald). … “I always loved the WFL’s 1974 game ball, writes Leo Strawn. “But I’d never seen a WFL football like this one until just now, although it’s obviously from some sort of a press conference in 1973 or 1974.” … Also from Leo: New “debt reduction guernsey” — a reference to the fundraising campaign to reduce the team’s debt — for the North Melbourne Kangaroos. According to the team’s web site, the guernsey “features names of every Bronze, Silver, Gold and Royal Blue contributor of the ‘Invest in Success’ campaign and will be worn by the team for the Round 22 home match vs. Fremantle on Sunday 26th August 2012.” … The Brewers have called up Brooks Conrad, who doesn’t wear batting gloves. “Looks like he went bare-handed when he was with the Braves, too,” notes Jordan Cutler. … Hmmm, do the Miami Dolphins have a moving company? “I saw that truck in an alley in northeast DC,” says John Muir. Either the owner figures no one will notice or else the Fish are pimping their logo for a few extra nickels.” … New kits for the Chicago Red Stars (from Kenn Tomasch). … Broncos rookie Danny Trevathan was wearing a Nike jersey and Reebok pants the other day (from Chad Back). … The answer is: This game show host has a Maple Leafs jersey with a question mark instead of a uni number displayed in his home. Who is Alex Trebek? (From Marc Malfara.) … A soldier in Afghanistan has been customizing his fellow soldiers’ helmets by painting their favorite sports team logos on them. “The artist, Spc. Chris Smith, is an avid Alabama Crimson Tide fan, and he states that he’ll do any sports team except the Auburn Tigers,” says Gary Dincher. … A Seattle T-shirt designer has created a series of tees featuring Seattle neighborhood names with NBA team logo themes. They’re available from these guys (from John Wokas). … No matter how many times I see Illinois baseball’s G.I. Joe design, it still looks like the Bengals to me. … Sebastian Vettel, the current F1 champ, wore a helmet with more white than usual for the Spanish Grand Prix (from Omar Jalife). … The U.S. volleyball team had been wearing a UPS ad logo throughout the NORCECA (North, Central and Caribbean) Confederation Olympic Qualification Tournament in Long Beach, California. But for the final round match against Canada, they dropped the ad. If Jeremy Brahm doesn’t know why they did that (and he doesn’t), what hope do we mere mortals have? … Ever heard of tabletop croquet? Neither had I, until Marty Hick sent me these photos. A friend of his found the set at his grandparents’ house. … RIP, Duck. I’ll never be able to play like you did, but I’ll strap on the Precision today and play a little bit for you all the same.