OAKLAND -- As it turned out, the Rays' pink bats had no hits in them Sunday against the A's, but that didn't diminish the message they sent by swinging them.
"Just awareness," Rays first baseman Carlos Pena said. "It brings strength to know that Major League Baseball, as a group, is joining forces and sending all the good energy toward those who haven't been so fortunate and those who may be going through [cancer].
"I suppose they must feel that positive support that we as a group send. So that's the way I like to think of it."
Pink bats have become annual Mother's Day symbols as part of a "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative by MLB, which 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 2010" pink bats right now for $79.99 apiece at the MLB.com Shop, with $10 from the sale of each one going to Komen.
Every Rays starter went to the plate with a pink bat Sunday during Dallas Braden's perfect game for the A's. Many players wore pink wristbands or necklaces.
Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett said although no one in his family has had to battle cancer, he welcomed the opportunity to support others who have.
"If someone in my family did, I'd want someone to support them," Bartlett said. "That's the way I look at it, as if I'm in someone else's shoes. That's one way to help. It's an easy way to help."
Playing on Mother's Day, Pena said, is always special.
"It's not only the cancer [awareness]. We're also acknowledging our moms and what they mean to us, how appreciative we are of everything they've done for us, and I think everyone's got a story like that," Pena said. "Mother's love can never be replaced. That's something I'm very grateful for, and personally I can really say that."
Bartlett said he has special plans for one of the pink bats he used Sunday.
"I like to use it, then give it to my mom," he said.
Eric Gilmore is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.