LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- MLB.com's Stand Up To Cancer auction was organized and inspired by media relations staffers from all 30 teams, and it's only fitting that one of the biggest inspirations for the event works for a team that is generating some of the highest dollar figures.
Shannon Forde, a long-time member of the Mets' media relations staff who was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in August 2012, is one of the main reasons MLB's PR representatives came up with the idea for the auction. She, along with the Cardinals' Melody Yount and the Orioles' Monica Barlow, were all stricken with various forms of the disease in the last several years.
On the business side of a front office, media relations folks are the closest to the players. It's that inside track that enabled this auction to offer up eye-popping unique items that won't be available anywhere else, at any other time.
Forde's team has stepped up in a big way, and after two days of online bidding, the Mets' three offerings are generating a ton of interest.
The meet-and-greet with manager Terry Collins, along with the opportunity to watch a game alongside general manager Sandy Alderson and team executives in the GM's private box, is currently up to $1,520, spanning eight bids.
The batting-practice session before a game at Citi Field with instruction from Collins has received four bids, with the highest totaling $756. A 30-minute private pitching lesson with Mets Hall of Famer John Franco has garnered 12 bids, the highest reaching $1,120. All packages include four tickets to a Mets home game and the opportunity to watch batting practice on the field.
At the start of the day, the SU2C Auction had generated overall nearly $50,000 in bids, thanks in large part to players and front offices of every team being amenable to lending their time and celebrity status for the cause.
Forde, around whom the baseball industry rallied when she revealed her diagnosis, constantly marvels at the support.
"It shows how much people really realize the effects cancer has on people whether it's yourself or your family," she said. "It affects everybody, and realizing that we really need to find a cure for this and do our part to try as much as we can to make this disease of the past."
Bidding closes at 10 p.m. ET on Thursday with 80 baseball-related experiences ranging from private pitching and batting lessons with players to lunches with general managers to team bus rides and meet-and-greets with Hall of Fame players.
Last year, the auction raised more than $150,000. Major League Baseball and its 30 clubs are the founding partners of Stand Up To Cancer and a lead donor since 2008, committing more than $40 million. As the initiative's founding donor, MLB has collaborated with Stand Up To Cancer on significant awareness-building efforts, including public service announcements, in-stadium promotion and fundraising events, and a World Series game has been dedicated to the initiative for each of the past three years.
Every team has donated at least one item or experience, with most teams offering up multiple donations.