LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Want to join Ryan Lefebvre in the broadcast booth?
Or schmooze with manager Ned Yost and Hall of Famer George Brett in Spring Training?
Or give general manager Dayton Moore some friendly advice over lunch?
Royals fans have a chance to do those things and help fight cancer at the same time.
Baseball's Winter Meetings this week include an MLB.com 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, which will be officially announced at a news conference on Monday in Lake Buena Vista with MLB staff. Bidding closes at 9 p.m. CT on Thursday with 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.
Mike Swanson, the Royals' vice president-communications and broadcasting, came up with the Royals' three items for the auction.
1. The ultimate broadcast experience:
"We've had a lot of success with this in our auction during the summer, it's one of the higher-bid items," Swanson said. "Basically what you get to do is attend a Royals game during the season, get to stand on the outskirts of the media session with Ned pregame down on the bench. And generally Ned will spend a few minutes with you and answer any questions you may have.
"Then you can come to the press box and have food in the dining room. And then go to the broadcast truck and also spend an inning in the broadcast booth with Ryan Lefevbre, Rex Hudler and Steve Physioc and look around behind the scenes. I like to call it a peek behind the curtain."
2. Spring Training meet-and-greet with Yost, Moore and Royals players:
"You can come in early in the morning and watch batting practice, have an opportunity to meet Dayton and Ned, take pictures, and I don't promise specific players, but our guys are really good at saying hello to people. And George [Brett] and some of the players when their cage groups are done, you'll have an opportunity to get autographs and take pictures with them," Swanson said.
3. Lunch with Moore.
"The winning bidder and his family, or whatever it turns out to be, will go out to lunch at a restaurant somewhere in Kansas City, probably down on the Plaza, and have lunch with Dayton. It includes tickets to the game that night and batting practice passes," Swanson said.
Since the auction began last year, Swanson has been impressed by the creativity shown by the 30 Major League clubs in putting together the auction items.
"We're trying to out-cool each other, trying to come up with the best interaction and the one that's going to raise the most money because it's all about getting the money raised and to those who absolutely need it," he said.
"The one I can't wait to do is one I saw Boston doing. They're going to have you bidding on the World Series trophy coming to your business or school. I can't wait for us to have that one. We'll sell that one seven times if it'll help eradicate cancer."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com.