"My grandfather died of cancer at 66, too young, and my brother-in-law is battling cancer right now," Grilli said. "When Jason approached me, it was very easy to say yes. I set it up for my part of the proceeds to go to my brother-in-law's sarcoma cancer group to help with the research."
Grilli is the Pirates' representative in the Major League-wide program to raise awareness and raise funds for cancer research through the sale of team-specific T-shirts.
The website 108stitches.com went live on March 17, with 108 Stitches showcasing the "Strike Out Cancer" tees in each team's colors. Each is promoted by a different player who agreed to join Motte in a partnership that will benefit multiple charities. Each participating player has chosen a charity that will benefit from the T-shirt sales, and for each shirt sold, $5 will go to the Jason Motte Foundation and $5 to a charity of that player's choice. A full list of recipient charities will be listed on the 108 Stitches website soon, along with a photo of each player rep in his team-colored shirt.
"At the end of the day, it's about reaching people," Cardinals right-hander Motte said. "Baseball is great and everything, but there are other really important things going on out there that affect a lot of people. Wearing these T-shirts shows people that they're not alone. They're not sitting there doing chemo by themselves where no one cares. People do care, whether it's friends, family or baseball players. There are people who this has touched and this has affected. This is something we're trying to do to get the word out there and try to raise money to help."
"So it's a way to give back," Grilli said. "It's easy to do, and I'm doing it gladly, for sure. The fight against cancer is something Major League Baseball is involved with. We have to use the pedestal and the platform as much as we can for good. We're in a position where we're asked a lot, and it's our responsibility to do good."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.