LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If this year's Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) auction surpasses last year's grand total of more than $150,000, the D-backs will be able to share a great deal of the credit.
They've offered up three enticing packages that have generated quite a bit of online interest this week, including what appears to be the grand prize coming out of Phoenix -- a meet and greet with All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and the opportunity to watch a game from the trademark swimming pool that has been a staple of Chase Field since it opened in 1998.
That package has generated 23 bids, the highest registering at $1,500. Add to that the other two offerings -- the opportunity to have a portrait painted by D-backs shortstop Didi Gregorius ($500) and the opportunity to be a part of the 2014 D-backs team photo, to be shot in September ($540), and the club will contribute at least $2,540 to cancer research.
As day three of the Winter Meetings reached the late afternoon hours on Wednesday, the overall dollar figures for the auction continued to show a dramatic increase with each passing hour.
As of 5 p.m. ET, the total bid dollar amount for the MLB's venture to raise funds for cancer research was $63,311.27, spanning 483 bids. The SU2C list of items of up for bid has generated 39,338 page views.
The MLB.com Auction to benefit Stand Up To Cancer is part of a much larger initiative that MLB has supported since 2008 as founding sponsor. Public relations representatives from all 30 clubs were inspired to act based on individual club members impacted by the disease, and they jointly organized the auction.
Three MLB PR representatives have been dealing with the cancer for the past several years: Shannon Forde, a longtime member of the Mets media relations staff; the Cardinals' Melody Yount and the Orioles' Monica Barlow. Because media relations folks have a direct line to and close relationships with the ballplayers, they were able to cook up a doozy of a list of enticing prizes to offer in the auction.
The items up for bid aren't just your garden-variety signed bats and balls, although those are included in several packages. If the items seem a little over the top, they are -- on purpose. The goal is to raise as much money as possible to fight cancer, a disease that has touched the lives of just about everyone in the world in some fashion, and club employees have purposely put together a list of eye-popping items that hopefully will be irresistible to the charity-minded fan base.
In addition to having his or her portrait painted by Gregorius, who is an accomplished artist, the winner of that package will also receive four infield box seats to a 2014 D-backs home game and the opportunity to meet Gregorius before the game. The Goldschmidt/swimming pool package will involve the winner and a guest sitting alongside Fox Sports Arizona as part of their annual broadcast from the RamTrucks.com pool, where they will meet 2001 World Series manager Bob Brenly and play-by-play broadcaster Steve Berthiaume.
The winning bidder of the team photo package, along with a guest, will also have the photo signed by the club and will be invited to watch batting practice from the field and enjoy tickets to that night's game.
Bidding closes at 8 p.m. MT 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 SU2C and a lead donor since 2008, committing more than $40 million through 2014. 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.