Plouffe’s Mother’s Day gesture meets MLB red tape

MINNEAPOLIS — Trevor Plouffe just wants to honor his mother, but Major League Baseball won’t let him.

Plouffe, the Twins’ third baseman, hoped to use a bat with a pink logo on Mother’s Day this Sunday to pay tribute to his mother, Diane, a cancer survivor.  But since Plouffe uses the Minnesota-based MaxBat and not Louisville Slugger, he can’t do that.

“From my understanding, there are certain companies that own the rights to MLB’s logo on their stuff,” Plouffe said Friday at Target Field. “Within that contract, they’re the only ones that can distribute pink items for us to use. I just think that that’s kind of ridiculous, not just with Louisville Slugger but with all the companies that do that.

“It’s not really about raising brand awareness. It’s more about raising awareness for the cause.”

Louisville Slugger makes the pink bats you’ve seen used on Mother’s Day every year for the last eight years. On Friday, MaxBat vice president and director of sales Jim Anderson presented Plouffe with some customized black MaxBats with a pink logo — much more subtle than the all-pink Louisville Sluggers.

Shortly after Anderson gave Plouffe the bats that he planned to honor his mother with, the Twins third baseman received a call telling him he couldn’t.

“He came down here personally today and handed me a bat with his son right after he picked him up from school as a nice gesture,” Plouffe said. “Fifteen minutes later, he called and said, ‘Hey, I’m sorry, you guys can’t use those or else I’m going to get fined.'”

Plouffe said before Friday’s game against Baltimore that he hadn’t talked with anyone about possibly chipping in to pay for MaxBat’s fine if he and other players were to use the special Mother’s Day bats on Sunday. Baltimore Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis is a fellow MaxBat user and is also at Target Field this weekend.

Like Plouffe, the pink bats would hold extra meaning for Markakis.

“It would mean a little more to me with my mom being a breast cancer survivor and be able to support her in that way,” Markakis told the Baltimore Sun.

“So I guess you could say it is a little disappointing. But I guess the rules are the rules, right? If I said something [to MLB] would it really make a difference? No, I doubt it. It is what it is. You’ve got to abide by the rules, right?”

A tweet from Major League Baseball’s public relations account said Friday that “all players can use pink bats Sunday with any bat company that makes a modest donation” to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Still, Plouffe was clearly disappointed by the fact that a simple tribute to his mother was stopped before it ever started.

“My mom’s a survivor. I’m one of the fortunate ones,” Plouffe said. “There are a lot of people out there that aren’t as fortunate as me and have lost not just their moms but significant others and family members. Anything I can do to help raise awareness, raise money for breast cancer, I want to do. I don’t want some company telling me I can’t do it.”

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