DENVER -- A chance to meet Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and tour Coors Field, visit the team's Spring Training palace in Scottsdale, Ariz., or receive a commemorative baseball from the team's only World Series trip will bring smiles to the faces of the lucky baseball fans who prevail in an auction. Ultimately, though, the auction is designed to prevent families all over from experiencing the sorrow that cancer brings. It's sorrow that Jay Alves, the Rockies' vice president of communications, has experienced. Alves lost his father, Ernie, to lung cancer, and more recently lost his sister, Melinda, after a five-year battle with ovarian cancer. These Winter Meetings 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 and announced it Monday in Nashville, Tenn., with MLB staff. Bidding closes at 9:59 p.m. MT Thursday with more than 70 baseball-related experiences ranging from clubhouse tours by players to lunches with general managers to team bus rides to meet-and-greets with 14 Hall of Fame players.
"It gives you great awareness of the disease," Alves said. "My dad had other things in addition to the cancer. With my sister, fighting cancer was the focus of her life the last five years. I saw what it did to her and her family, with the chemotherapy and the ups and downs of the disease. Some days were good and she could go through them, and sometimes she'd go through chemotherapy and it would knock her flat for days. It was a struggle. "So this is a good program. I feel like we're doing something to make people aware of it, because it touches so many of us." D-backs vice president of communications Josh Rawitch has worked tirelessly to help each club put a program together. The impetus for the program came from Shannon Forde, the Mets' senior director of media relations, who is battling breast cancer. Major League Baseball is putting its full force behind Stand Up To Cancer, with the auction and a full battery of television commercials among other efforts. Here are the Rockies' auction donations: Four fans can win a tour of the Coors Field clubhouse, dugout, training room, underground batting practice tunnel and video rooms led by Tulowitzki, a two-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner, at some point during the regular season. The fans also will be on the field during batting practice, and will receive four tickets to the game. The fans will be able to meet Rockies players and coaches, and there will be autograph opportunities. Four fans will be guided by staff members on a tour of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. They'll arrive 3-4 hours before a game and will be able to see Spring Training as it goes on prior to a game. The fans will be given access to the tunnel between the spacious clubhouse and the field, and enter the field with the Rockies. Also, they will be invited to a pregame meal with players, coaches and club executives. There will be autograph opportunities. (Transportation to Scottsdale is not included). One fan can win a baseball that was signed by each member of the 2007 Rockies club, which won the National League pennant and faced the Red Sox in the World Series.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. Jason Beck contributed. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.