Angels host their honorary bat girl

Angels host their honorary bat girl

ANAHEIM -- Judy Watts, now fully recovered from advanced Stage 3 breast cancer, finally got a chance to soak up Angel Stadium on Monday, when the club invited her to take part in pregame activities, meet the players and watch the Angels take on the Athletics from one of the club-level suites.

In celebration of Mother's Day, and as part of an ongoing effort to bring breast cancer awareness, Major League Baseball once again asked each team to name a winner for their 2012 Honorary Bat Girl program, which recognizes baseball fans who have bravely taken on the disease.

For the Angels, the choice was Watts -- a single mother, an English teacher, a volunteer umpire and a self-proclaimed "baseball nut." They hosted her Monday because the club was in Texas during Mother's Day on Sunday.

"It's just incredible," Watts said from the Angels' dugout. "Completely humbled. I read everybody's profiles who tried to do this and can't believe I was chosen."

Watts lived in Illinois -- where, coincidentally, she taught Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher at United Township High School in the early 1980s -- and instantly became an Angels fan upon moving west in 1996.

Recently, she competed with more than 20 Angels fans in the essay contest, with a panel that included second baseman Howie Kendrick and fan votes choosing a winner on HonoraryBatGirl.com.

Watts entered because she's a big Angels fan. She wanted to win because her 12-year-old son, Cameron, is an even bigger one.

"He was my rock throughout the whole thing," Watts said, "and he's also a baseball nut, so it would be fun for both of us."

Watts was diagnosed with breast cancer Aug. 9, 2010, and she finished her radiation treatments in June 2011. Her first post-surgery MRI exam in February revealed that she was cancer-free.

"Let's hope it stays that way," she said.