Hats off to Major League Baseball for its Mother’s Day Pink Bat promotion to raise awareness of breast cancer.

There was a time, not so long ago, when you might not have associated macho professional athletes with social awareness. Those days obviously are gone.

The Louisville Slugger factory turned out 400 pink bats for 50 players who agreed to participate in the weeklong campaign that culminated Sunday.

On the Reds those players included Jason LaRue, Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. LaRue used one of his on a fifth inning home run against the Phillies Sunday. That bat was a gift to his mother, Melanie. The others from around the league will be auctioned off at the end of the week to benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

The campaign encourages women to get regular examinations and stresses that early detection is a key to surviving the disease. Breast cancer, while primarily afflicting women, is not just a “women’s” disease. Breast cancer is an issue that touches everyone who knows someone who has been diagnosed. Frank discussion and broad knowledge of the disease and how to deal with it is the best way to increase the survival rate.

In addition to the bats, players and other on-field personnel are wearing pink breast cancer bracelet wristbands, and pink home plates and scorecards are being used around the league. All of those items will go into the fundraising auctions.

Major league bats are custom made for each player and Louisville Slugger was taking orders for the pink sticks through last Friday. For those players who didn’t order one, try bidding on one used by a teammate who did. It won’t hurt to take a few extra swings in this worthwhile campaign.