LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Media relations representatives from each of the 30 Major League teams got together to form a doozy of an MLB.com auction this week, with once-in-a-lifetime prizes available that can't be found anywhere else. The Indians have done their part to ensure thousands will be raised for Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), offering enticing opportunities that would make any Tribe fan drool at the possibilities.
The winning bidder of the meet-and-greet with manager Terry Francona, plus three guests, will receive a tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, attend an Indians game and meet Francona, take batting practice on the field, watch the Indians take BP on the field, tour the Indians clubhouse and watch an Indians game from a private press box booth. So far, 13 bids have come in, with the highest totaling $1,040.
The Tribe's other offering -- a road trip with the Indians -- has received eight bids, totaling $690. That package includes attending an Indians road game (air fare and travel not included), touring the visiting clubhouse, meeting Francona, watching batting practice on the field and receiving four tickets for the game (Opening Day excluded).
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 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.
Bidding closes at 10 p.m. ET Thursday for 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.
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.