Bidding is under way through 8 p.m. ET on Thursday for 41 signed patriotic jerseys worn by the Nationals during the emotional first game of their Sept. 17 home doubleheader, with all proceeds going to help families affected by the previous day's nearby Navy Yard shooting.
The Nationals are hosting the auction to raise money for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), which set up the Navy Yard Tragedy Family Support Fund to assist those families. The club's home game on Sept. 16 was postponed out of respect to what had happened near Nationals Park, and these jerseys with the stars-and-stripes Curly W were worn in the first game back, the walk-off victory over the Braves.
"As is the case for our entire community, the Nationals are deeply impacted by the senseless act of violence that occurred at the Washington Navy Yard last week," said Nationals Vice President of Communications Lara Potter. "Since then, we have focused on trying to be good neighbors, and this patriotic jersey auction is one of the ways the team is showing support for those affected by this tragic event."
Fans have responded in overwhelming numbers to this opportunity to help. As of 11:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, there already were to 511 bids totaling $30,814.62. Every jersey has received bids. Stephen Strasburg's No. 37 jersey had the most bids at 30, and the highest price so far was for the No. 34 Bryce Harper jersey, with bids on that one about to break the $4,000 mark.
"I know there are a lot of hurt families out there, and we're just going to try to do our part hopefully in trying to help it," Nationals center fielder Denard Span said after the tragedy, "but there's nothing we can do to replace the lives that were lost."
Proceeds for the Navy Yard Tragedy Family Support fund will provide comfort and care for those who lost a loved one at the Navy Yard, including support programs and casework assistance for unmet needs.
TAPS is a 24/7 tragedy assistance resource for anyone who has suffered the loss of a military loved one. The organization provides comfort and care through comprehensive services and programs including peer-based emotional support, case work assistance, connections to community-based care, and grief and trauma resources. As it did for Pentagon contract workers who were affected on Sept. 11, 2001, TAPS is committed to the same response for those affected at the Navy Yard.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com.