HOUSTON -- Judy Pareya of Houston, a cancer survivor for more than 13 years, was honored on the field prior to Sunday's game against the Rangers. She was celebrated along with the Astros' 2013 Honorary Bat Girl, Gina Law, who couldn't attend the game.
Pareya, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, is a retiree and mother of two, grandmother of two and great grandmother of four. Since beating the disease, she and her children have been active supporters of breast cancer awareness campaigns, research and assistance for low-income women struggling with breast cancer.
"It is just a thrill to be out here with the Astros here on Mother's Day with all of my family, except two of my great grandchildren who are in Japan; I couldn't get them out here for it," Pareya said. "It is just a beautiful day and a beautiful park and I feel blessed."
Law, Houston's choice as Honorary Bat Girl, has been battling breast cancer, is one of 30 such winners across the country -- one for each Major League team.
The 30 Honorary Bat Girl winners were selected by fan votes on HonoraryBatGirl.com along with feedback from a guest judging panel that included CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees, Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals, Maria Menounos of Extra TV and Sam Ryan, MLB Network host and reporter.
During MLB's annual Mother's Day national day of recognition, Honorary Bat Girls took part in pregame activities, were honored during an on-field ceremony and received pink MLB merchandise and two tickets to the game.
And once again this year, players swung pink bats on Sunday. The hot pink color was introduced in 2012, and this year, it included the new Louisville Slugger logo, which changed on MLB's Opening Day, marking the bat maker's first logo change in 33 years and only the second significant change in its 129 years in professional baseball.
Louisville Slugger and MLB first introduced the pink bat program on Mother's Day in 2006. Fans can obtain their own personalized pink bat by going to shop.MLB.com or sluggergifts.com. Game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats from Mother's Day games will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.