Playing Pink

Carmel vs. Pacific Grove

Playing PinkTheir rivalry is legendary. But on this day, players from the Carmel and Pacific Grove high school varsity baseball teams were on the same side. Or, at least it looked like it as they donned matching pink jerseys and hit the diamond to raise awareness and money for Community Hospital's Breast Care Center.

Their coaches, Randall Bispo for Carmel and Gil Ruiz for Pacific Grove, added an extra game at the end of the season last spring to raise money, not for their own athletic programs but for the benefit of the community.

"Our plan," says Ruiz, "was to help someone out, provide a service. Randall brought up breast cancer and the idea of wearing pink. My mom had a bout with cancer a couple of years ago, so it was a good fit. The biggest thing was to let our guys know how lucky they have it, and how precious their moms and sisters are.

"This cancer thing is a tough one. I sat them all down and told them what it was about, and they were all into it. And when I told them about the pink jerseys, they loved it."

The players were asked to promote the game and the cause and to collect as much money as they could from everybody they know. Each had a minimum goal of $50. After asking for donations from parents, friends, grandparents, teachers, and their junior varsity counterparts, the teams netted $1,500 for the Breast Care Center.

"For our players," says Ruiz, "it was an awareness thing. It really was great. It just wasn't your regular game. The rivalry between the two schools was put aside. Not even their hats distinguished between the two different teams. Everybody looked the same, and everyone had the same goal.

"We told the kids to take the pink jerseys to their mothers. A lot of them wanted to keep the jerseys, but we told them they can get one next year because we definitely plan on doing it again."