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SU2C auction helps cause that hits home for Melvin

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Brewers general manager Doug Melvin will be supporting a cause close to his heart when he takes part in a Major League-wide Stand Up To Cancer initiative in 2013.

These Winter Meetings include an Auction to benefit Stand Up To Cancer, which 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 and announced it Monday in Nashville with MLB staff. Bidding closes at 10:59 p.m. CT Thursday with more than 70 baseball-related experiences ranging from clubhouse tours by players to lunches with general managers to team bus rides to meet-and-greets with 14 Hall of Fame players.

The Brewers offered three packages for auction:

• A suite for 12 people with food and beverage package, plus a Corey Hart game-used bat and a personal visit from Melvin.

• A trip down Bernie's Slide for a party of four before a 2013 game, plus four game tickets and an Aramis Ramirez autographed baseball.

• A private party at a fan's home with the Racing Sausages and former Brewers coach and current TV analyst Dave Nelson.

Melvin and his wife, Ellen, have been vocal advocates for cancer awareness and research over the years. Ellen Melvin's mother, Elsie Schultz, was diagnosed with breast cancer on her 62nd birthday -- Aug. 24, 1990 -- and passed away six months later.

Over the past five years, Ellen Melvin, with help from Doug and their children, Ashley and Cory, have raised funds for the cause through a variety of events including last year's Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse, an event that raised money for breast cancer and prostate cancer research at the Medical College of Wisconsin. A professionally decorated mansion on Milwaukee's East Side opened for tours in June, with proceeds benefiting the cause. Over the last 14 years, similar tours have raised $4.4 million for cancer research.

"It's 21 years now that my mom is gone," Ellen Melvin said. "She was caring, loving, my best friend. But what we've gotten out of it, my sister and I, is early detection is so important. That's why Doug and I felt it would be good to try to help support breast cancer prevention programs."

The list of auction items was compiled by MLB's Media Relations representatives, and they came up with some intriguing experiences. Among the other 29 teams' submissions:

• Be a Baltimore Orioles player for a day -- eat with the team, take batting practice and sit in the dugout during a Spring Training game.

• Receive a 30-minute guitar lesson from Cincinnati Reds All-Star pitcher Bronson Arroyo.

• Receive a 2013 MLB All-Star package including two tickets to All-Star FanFest, Taco Bell All-Star Sunday, Home Run Derby and the 84th All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York, plus a meet and greet with Tony La Russa and Joe Torre.

• Shoot a round of golf with Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Ian Kennedy.

"With so many of our friends and colleagues recently affected by cancer, we felt it was time for us to stand up and the Winter Meetings present the only opportunity each year when all 30 managers, general managers and all of the media come together," said Josh Rawitch, the D-backs' senior vice president of communications and the club PR official spearheading the charge. "With the unique access we are all fortunate to have to some of the game's greatest treasures, it's really our responsibility to do our part and we hope this is only the beginning."

Milwaukee Brewers