TORONTO -- Major League Baseball is doing its part this weekend to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer as part of its initiatives for Father's Day.
During Father's Day Weekend, players and on-field personnel are wearing the symbolic blue ribbon on their uniforms along with blue wristbands. Each club also is wearing specially designed uniforms and caps to help fund research to fight the disease.
MLB will donate all royalty payments from the sales of specialty caps and uniforms to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer. During this weekend's games, blue compression sleeves, blue batting gloves, blue footwear, blue wrist/elbow/leg guards and catcher's equipment can also be used.
Players and on-field personnel have been wearing blue ribbons and blue wristbands on Father's Day since MLB first partnered with the Prostate Cancer Foundation in 1996. This is the first year that MLB is also using a blue-stitched Rawlings baseball, as the official game ball.
Another added source of fundraising this year is the annual Prostate Cancer Foundation "Home Run Challenge," which gives fans the opportunity to make a one-time monetary donation for every home run hit by their favorite MLB clubs from June 1 through Father's Day, June 18. Every dollar donated through the Home Run Challenge goes to PCF to fund critical research to defeat prostate cancer.
The Blue Jays celebrated Father's Day by having Jason Grilli's children throw out the ceremonial first pitch, and the first 20,000 fans at Rogers Centre received a "Fire Up the Grilli" apron. Head athletic trainer George Poulis' daughters sang the national anthem and the West Jet Flight Deck in center field was turned into a "Dad's Den" with games and activities for families.
Overall, PCF has raised more than $700 million for prostate cancer research, which has resulted in helping bring six prostate cancer medicines to patients. Every 20 minutes, a man in the U.S. dies from prostate cancer. For more information about PCF, please visit PCF.org.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.