Report: MLB bans non-Louisville pink Mother's Day bats because of licensing
Major League Baseball has prohibited Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis and Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe from using special pink bats from manufacturer MaxBat, which are meant to support breast cancer, because it would violate the league's licensing agreement with Louisville Slugger, according to a Yahoo! Sports report.
In an email to all league-approved bat manufacturers in April, MLB official Roy Krasik mandated that only Louisville Slugger, "the MLB official licensee," can manufacture pink bats with its name on the label.
Plouffe, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor, took to Twitter to criticize Louisville Slugger, writing: "Seriously disgusted that a company would block awareness for Breast Cancer research so their brand can stand out. Thanks @sluggernation !" and "Sorry Mom. I can't use my Breast Cancer Awareness bat on Sunday because @sluggernation 'owns the rights.' Because that's what it's about…" before deleting the tweets.
From Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan:
To get that designation, Hillerich & Bradsby, the parent company of Louisville Slugger, made what one source deemed "a sizeable donation" to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the league's charitable partner. The terms of the donation included other manufacturers being able to make pink bats but not stamp the bat with their logos. MaxBat, which declined comment through a spokesman, made bats for Markakis, Plouffe and other major leaguers that were standard colors – with pink MaxBat labels.https://twitter.com/MaxBatBaseball/status/332962954825838593
The league apparently considered this running afoul of a portion of its rule that states companies other than Louisville Slugger can make pink bats so long as "no ribbons, corporate logos, distinguishing marks or names of charities are included on the bat."