Orioles recognize fan as honorary Bat Girl

Orioles recognize fan as honorary Bat Girl

Orioles recognize fan as honorary Bat Girl
BALTIMORE -- As part of the Major League Baseball's "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative, Orioles honorary bat girl Tammy Kestler was recognized on the field before Sunday's game against the Rays and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Kestler was also awarded pink merchandise and two tickets to the game as the winner of the Honorary Bat Girl Contest, designed to recognize fans from all 30 teams who have had their lives affected by breast cancer.

Combined with the use of pink bats and merchandise by players across MLB, Kestler's involvement is part of a growing effort to raise awareness about the deadly disease.

Nine-time Grammy award winner Bonnie Raitt, who lost her brother and close friends to cancer, recorded a special video at the MLB Fan Cave to lend her support to the Honorary Bat Girl initiative and the ongoing fight to eradicate the disease, which was also shown on the Camden Yards JumboTron prior to Sunday's contest.

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Kestler was selected by a fan vote and a guest judging panel of MLB players, media personalities and other celebrities. This is the fourth year in a row that MLB has held the Honorary Bat Girl Contest.

The guest judging panel for the Honorary Bat Girl program included Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton, Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, whose aunt passed away from lung cancer; Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, whose best friend's mom is a breast cancer survivor; and Giants pitcher Barry Zito, whose mom was affected by cancer. Also on the panel was MLB Network host Chris Rose, who has several close friends who have been affected by the disease; international soccer star Mia Hamm, supporter of the Honorary Bat Girl initiative with husband and former All-Star Nomar Garciaparra, whose grandmother passed away from breast cancer; and "Desperate Housewives" actor James Denton, who lost his mother to breast cancer.

The Orioles also made the Mother's Day a special one for PA announcer Adrienne Roberson, who made her debut at Camden Yards after spending eight seasons as the voice of Baltimore's Double-A affiliate, the Bowie Baysox.

Roberson had tried out for the role when it opened in the spring, but did not receive the full-time job. Still, the Orioles wanted to reward the finalist for her efforts and the job she's done at the Minor League level, so they gave her the one-time call up for Sunday.

"Adrienne performed extremely well during the tryout process, and it was clear to us that she is the consummate professional," said Orioles Director of Communications Greg Bader. "When we made our final selection to go with Ryan Wagner for the full-time role, we were sure to let Adrienne know that as a finalist, we wanted to find ways to potentially utilize her talents in the future, and we are excited to have been able to bring her on board for Mother's Day."

Greg Luca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.