Rays join MLB in standing up to cancer

ARLINGTON -- The Rays will wear strikeout cancer T-shirts in support of the Moffitt Cancer Center as they join the fight to help #KCancer14 on Sept. 2.

Major League baseball players will stand together on that day and do their collective best to "strikeout cancer" when they host a player-led initiative to raise awareness and funds for cancer-related charities across the United States.

On Strikeout Cancer Day, players will wear Strikeout Cancer T-shirts on the way to the ballpark, in the clubhouse, in the batting cage, or after the game. The Players hope their support for each other and their fans will encourage others to do what they can to "strikeout cancer."

"Strikeout Cancer" day was created as an extension to an ongoing initiative spearheaded by St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Jason Motte. Each team will be supporting a different cancer-fighting charitable organization, selected at the suggestion of the team's Player representative.

Proceeds from every shirt sold are split between the Jason Motte Foundation and the charity selected by the Player representative, who in many cases has a personal attachment to the charity because of someone he knows who has or had cancer.

In addition, the MLBPA will contribute its customary licensing fee to the brain tumor program at Columbia University Medical Center in memory of Michael Weiner, the former MLBPA executive director who passed away last November after a 15-month battle with brain cancer.

Evan Longoria is the Rays' representative, and he noted that he's been involved with Moffitt for four years, so he's happy about the group effort combining Mott's initiative with Major League Baseball and the Players Association.

"Just bringing it more mainstream to all 30 teams, and allowing every team to pick the charity of their choice, and the specific cancer of their choice," Longoria said. "It just show how many types of cancer there are and how many people are affected by different diseases. And how much of an impact we can have as a whole organization on the whole process. I think it's cool that all the teams are doing it and hopefully we'll get a ton of support from the fans."

Fans can take part by purchasing these shirts at www.108stitches.com. Fans purchasing shirts are encouraged to wear them to a Major League game on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

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