ST. PETERSBURG -- Indians manager Terry Francona was proud to have a pink ribbon stitched into his shirt for Sunday's Mother's Day game, a 6-5 win over the Rays. Francona has also enjoyed seeing players embrace the cause over the past few years.
Each Mother's Day, players and coaches around the league don pink gear to help raise awareness for breast cancer. Francona's mother, Roberta, passed away of the disease, so the day hits home with him every season.
"My mom passed away because of breast cancer," Francona said prior to the Indians' 6-5 win over the Rays. "I actually think that any time you're trying to do something for somebody else [it's good.] I personally think this cause deserves [attention]. I'm not sure who hasn't been affected by it. I mean, my goodness. So, personally, it gives me something to think about when I put it on.
"Regardless of that, any time MLB or whatever wants to try to do something to help other people, I think it's awesome. I really do. I think stuff like that in our game gets overlooked probably too much. I get it. I know what sells and what doesn't, but there's so many good things that the players do, that the league does. To support something like that is so easy."
During the game, multiple players sported pink sleeves, armbands, cleats and bats in honor of the day. Indians catcher Yan Gomes, whose wife recently gave birth to their first child, launched a home run with a pink bat in the sixth inning. He said he plans on giving one of the game-used bats to his mom and the other to his wife.
Indians infielder Mike Aviles also used a pink bat, and wore a pink elbow guard.
I think it's great," Aviles said. "You're definitely showing your love for Mother's Day. I have nothing but women in my life. I have three daughters, a wife, a great mom, mother-in-law, grandmas. It's just my way to show everybody I love them and let them know I'm thinking of them on this day. They're big parts of my life, that's for sure."