HOUSTON -- Game 4 of the World Series was a traditional opportunity for Major League Baseball, the Dodgers, the Astros, a sellout crowd of 43,322 at Minute Maid Park and a FOX viewing audience to Stand Up To Cancer after the bottom of the fifth inning.For Astros manager A.J. Hinch,
HOUSTON -- Game 4 of the World Series was a traditional opportunity for Major League Baseball, the Dodgers, the Astros, a sellout crowd of 43,322 at Minute Maid Park and a FOX viewing audience to Stand Up To Cancer after the bottom of the fifth inning.
For Astros manager A.J. Hinch, it was a time to recognize Kevin Towers, his longtime friend.
:: World Series presented by YouTube TV: Schedule and coverage ::
As the cameras panned on the uniformed personnel who held up the familiar "I STAND FOR" placards around the ballpark, everyone saw Hinch dedicate the moment to the former Major League general manager of the Padres (1995-2009) and D-backs (2010-14). Towers was diagnosed with Anaplastic thyroid cancer, a rare case, in December after the Winter Meetings.
"Obviously it's a moment that is special to all of our hearts, from the people that are on the card and also people around the country," Hinch said after the Dodgers topped the Astros, 6-2, in Game 4 on Saturday. "And it's a great initiative that Major League Baseball started years ago, and will continue to be a way for us to bring awareness for people who suffer from cancer.
"In my particular instance, I've been in baseball a long time. He [Towers] means a lot to me. He's meant a lot to the people within the game for many, many years. He's done everything in the game. I wanted to put someone on there that was a baseball person that has resonated across the game at so many levels for so many years, and we just keep rooting for KT to have a recovery."
This marks the 10th year of MLB's relationship with Stand Up To Cancer as a founding donor. MLB and all 30 clubs work with SU2C and other organizations in a year-round effort to drive awareness and use the SU2C model to direct funds to Dream Team members of the medical-science community. Progress is constant, but so is the random diagnosis of cancer.
The Stand Up To Cancer in-game moment has happened in every All-Star Game and in one game of every World Series since its debut in 2009 in Philadelphia. This was No. 17.
"It's a tribute to the legacy of Commissioner [Bud] Selig -- he was the one who drove the original involvement in Stand Up To Cancer and helped jump-start that entire movement," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "The progress that they have made with respect to cures for different types of cancer is absolutely unbelievable, and baseball is just proud to play a little role in that effort.
"I think at this point in our relationship, the most important thing we can do for Stand Up is to raise people's awareness that there's still work to be done."
Fans in the ballpark were provided with an "I STAND UP FOR ____" placard at their seats, pre-filled or with the capability to personalize the name of a loved one.
"I think it's absolutely amazing, because with all of these fans and all the money they could raise, it all goes to good," said Amy Behm of Katy, Texas, standing up with her son at their seats behind home plate. "Everybody is affected by it. There isn't anybody who isn't touched by it. I don't think there are dry eyes in here."
That included Behm. She lost her mother, Nancy, 10 years ago, before her son was born. During the SU2C moment, Behm told her son, "I'm getting chills," as she watched the live video of the on-field personnel holding up placards on the giant scoreboard.
"It touches my heart, because a lot of them said they were standing up for their mom, and I lost my mom to cancer. So many people are so willing to take a moment out to respect everyone who is out there raising money," Behm said.
SU2C co-founder Rusty Robertson said: "It is that form of collaboration that will truly cure cancer. We recognize that it's the fans who come to these games who really will help us find the cure to the disease."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him on Twitter @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub.