Despite struggles, Sox like pink bats

Despite struggles, Sox like pink bats

CHICAGO -- Changing the color of the bats on Sunday afternoon didn't help the White Sox offense get out of its season-long funk.

But the usage of these special pink bats by seven of the nine starting position players just might have made Sunday's 7-1 loss to the Rangers a little easier to stomach for Ozzie Guillen's crew. After all, it's hard to top a good old-fashioned tribute to mom.

"No question -- Mother's Day always is very special," said White Sox designated hitter Jim Thome, who drew two walks while hitting with the pink bat.

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Thome paid tribute to his mother, Joyce, who lost her battle with lung cancer in 2005. Thome and his wife, Andrea, host a charity event to benefit Children's Hospital of Illinois in Joyce Thome's honor every January in his hometown of Peoria, Ill.

"My mom meant a lot to our family," Thome said. "It's always one of the better days in baseball, and I think it always will be. Baseball does a great job with the tradition of Mother's Day."

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, home plates and logo bases and lineup cards. Fans also can 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.

The White Sox had a number of promotions and activities planned for this Mother's Day, going along with the pink bats and pink wristbands worn by the players. The first 10,000 women in attendance received pink White Sox drawstring bags, courtesy of Walgreens and the American Cancer Society. Chair massages and nail technicians were set up around the ballpark, so mothers could be provided with some relaxing treatment.

There also was a pregame parade of breast cancer survivors and their families around the warning track. Mary Murphy from Gurnee, Ill., threw out the ceremonial first pitch, as Murphy was selected as the White Sox winner of the "Honorary Bat Girl Essay Contest," a Major League Baseball campaign to recognize fans who are going to bat against breast cancer in their daily lives.

Murphy, 32, is a mother of two who was diagnosed with stage III Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. She also was treated to complimentary seats right behind the White Sox dugout.

Unfortunately, Murphy and the rest of the special fans in attendance weren't treated to much offense produced by the pink bats.

"We should go with the green bats the next time," said Guillen with a laugh. "The pink bats didn't work for us today. But I think it's a great thing for Mother's Day. I think it's a special day. [With] the cancer [initiative], I'm part of that in Venezuela. We're looking for the cure, for something better."

"I was hoping to get a hit for my mom," said White Sox center fielder Brent Lillibridge, who finished 0-for-4 using the pink bats. "But it's always cool to represent how important your mom is to you."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.