Major League Baseball this week announced the 31 winners of the 2014 Honorary Bat Girl Contest, which recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate a commitment to eradicating the disease. Annie Arensdorf of Ashburn, Va., has been named the winner for the Washington Nationals, and she will be recognized on the field before the team plays the New York Mets on Friday, May 16. In addition to participating in the lineup delivery as part of the pregame ceremony, Arensdorf will receive pink MLB merchandise and two tickets to the game.
After the mother of two was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer at just 32 years old, Arensdorf was determined to beat the disease, undergoing a double mastectomy and aggressive chemotherapy treatments and radiation. She is now a breast cancer advocate and aims to serve as an example to other young women fighting the disease.
Fans from across the country and Canada 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 Honorary Bat Girl winners were selected by fan votes on HonoraryBatGirl.com along with feedback from a Guest Judging Panel that included Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves, Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants, country music superstar Jason Aldean, and Sam Ryan, MLB Network host and reporter.
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. Games will use a pink stitched Rawlings baseball, the official ball of MLB, as the official game day baseball. Numerous MLB players will use pink bats and pink Louisville Slugger bats, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo. Many of the game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother's Day games that have been authenticated by MLB will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to benefit the fight against breast cancer.
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 five years, thousands of unique testimonials have been submitted and more than 4 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 and Susan G. Komen. This initiative raises awareness about the breast cancer cause, while also raising funds to support breast cancer research.