Pink bat has Miles feeling legit
Vet one of seven Cards toting special lumber on Mother's Day
MILWAUKEE -- Aaron Miles figures this may be a sign he has officially "arrived."
Sunday marked the third straight Mother's Day in which Major League Baseball has distributed pink bats to raise breast cancer awareness. However, 2008 marked the first time Miles was included in such a promotion.
"It's the first time that I've shown up on the radar for Louisville to give me a bat, I think," the St. Louis Cardinals infielder said with a chuckle. "I never asked or anything -- other guys would just get [the bats] sent to him. Maybe I now have enough time in the league, or somebody knows who I am now."
Miles has been a big league regular since 2004, and yet fresher faces in the Cardinals' clubhouse were given the unusually colored equipment.
"Skip [Schumaker], this is only his second year, and he's got one," Miles said. "But they know me down there now."
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 massive 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 those pink bats that were used and then signed, or just signed by entire teams. Signed home plates and bases with the pink-ribbon logo also will be among the auction items that annually draw a frenzy, and all proceeds again will go to Komen. It is a "rolling auction," so if you don't see a player's bat in the next few weeks, keep coming back because eventually most or all of them show up there. Fans also can purchase their own personalized "Mother's Day 2008" pink bats right now for $79 apiece at the MLB.com Shop, with $10 from the sale of each one going to Komen.
Miles said he did have a family friend impacted by breast cancer. Other Cardinals using pink bats Sunday were Rick Ankiel, Chris Duncan, Cesar Izturis, Adam Kennedy and Jason LaRue.
Kennedy is participating for the third year.
"I'm not one that's too particular; I don't need too much of a test run," said Kennedy, when asked about players' tendency to discard the pink bats later in the game, in favor of more familiar tools.
"If you're swinging the bat well with a certain bat, you still want to show your respect for the cause and use the pink bat, but if it ain't going well, you've still got a job to do, so you go with what you feel comfortable with," Kennedy admitted.
Kennedy used his pink bat for most of Sunday's game but discarded it by the ninth, when he faced left-hander Brian Shouse with the tying runs on base in a 5-3 game. Kennedy grounded out to end the contest.
"I use a different bat against left-handers; I didn't have one of those in pink," Kennedy said.
As it turned out, the Cardinals were badly scorned by the pink bats. Not only did their own hitters go 2-for-15 with their lightly colored lumber, but Ryan Braun hit two home runs with his own pink bat to lead the Milwaukee offensive attack.
JR Radcliffe is a contributor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.