It’s one of the more poignant scenes you’ll find at a World Series game, and it has nothing to do with what’s happening on the field.
The in-game Stand Up To Cancer moment has been a regular tradition at All-Star Games and World Series for more than a decade, acting as a rare opportunity for everyone in the ballpark (and watching at home) to come together to support those who are currently fighting cancer or who have fought it in the past, or to honor the memory of those who succumbed to the disease.
“When I’m here and you see in front of, what, 60,000 people -- you see the umpires and the players and everybody,” said Rusty Robertson, the co-founder of SU2C. “And then you see all the public, and the fact that this placard moment is still going on, and we’re in our 10th or 11th year, and it’s gotten better. Now it’s like iconic.
“It says that when people come together for something they all really care about, magic happens and good things happen.”
Statistics show that nearly everyone in this country knows someone who had to deal with cancer. That’s what makes the SU2C moment so meaningful -- every person in the ballpark is offered a placard to write the name of a loved one, friend, colleague or acquaintance who has been touched by the disease.
Braves manager Brian Snitker wrote a few names on his placard. At the top was his wife, Ronnie, who developed breast cancer in 1993. Snitker became emotional before Game 4 when talking about seeing her name on his son Troy’s card during the SU2C moment in 2019. Troy Snitker is an Astros hitting coach.
“Ronnie's at the top of the list [on the placard], and a couple of really good friends,” Brian Snitker said. “We have a picture of Troy at his last World Series with his card, and it's on [Ronnie’s] dresser, because mom's right there.”
The SU2C moment traditionally takes place during Game 4 of the World Series, following the conclusion of the fifth inning. It is televised live on FOX, and cameras capture players, umpires, coaches and fans holding up placards containing handwritten names.
Astros shortstop Carlos Correa’s placard contained the names of two children he met in Houston who are special to him. One is Jalen Garcia, a teenaged cancer patient who passed away in 2019. The other is 6-year-old Truman Bohn, who is currently fighting the disease. He also had “Grandma” written on his card.
“I've got names that are special to me and my family,” Correa said before Game 4. “They're close. They're members of our family, and I can't wait to honor them.”
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman’s card contained the name of his mother, Rosemary, who he lost to cancer when he was a kid. Reliever Tyler Matzek’s card had two names: Lauren Matzek, his wife, and Jeff Matzek, his dad.
Houston outfielder Michael Brantley’s placard read “Grams and my pops.” Atlanta outfielder Joc Pederson’s said “Grampa Pete.” Eddie Rosario’s read “Familia: Haddock Vazquez.”
FOX and MLB Network contributor Ken Rosenthal wrote Mike Bell on his placard, honoring the late Twins coach (and brother of Reds manager David Bell) who succumbed to cancer in March, at the age of 46.
The majority of fans held up placards, as well. Many contained tributes to family members: “My mom,” “My wife.” Others paid homage to everyone: “Kids in the Fight,” and, simply, “Patients.”
MLB and its 30 Clubs are the founding donors of SU2C, committing more than $50 million, to date, to SU2C’s innovative cancer research programs.