LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It takes very little effort for a baseball star to raise a nice chunk of change in the name of charity. Often, just a few minutes of his time or a couple of autographs can turn into thousands of dollars with just the snap of a finger. Or, with the click of a mouse.
Angels outfielder Mike Trout will host four fans on the field during batting practice before a game next season, his contribution to MLB.com's Auction to benefit Stand Up To Cancer, which MLB has supported since 2008.
Bids for the Meet and Greet with Trout were up to $950 as of 5 p.m. PT on Monday. Bidding for this package, and nearly 80 more representing all 30 teams, runs through 8:59 PT on Thursday night.
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 Lake Buena Vista with MLB staff.
Baseball-related experiences up for bid range 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.
In addition to the Meet and Greet with Trout, the Angels are offering one with manager Mike Scioscia (minimum bid: $500) and a private hitting lesson with batting coach Don Baylor ($500).
The Angels are joining the rest of the baseball community in once again supporting Stand Up To Cancer's efforts to raise awareness and funds in hopes of eradicating the deadly disease.
This year, it will hit a little closer to home.
Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels' longtime team orthopedist and one of the country's most noted practitioners in the field of sports medicine, passed away at age 65 on May 25, ending his battle with liver cancer.
During the 2008 Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Yocum became the second physician to be named an honorary member of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society. And three weeks before his passing, the Angels dedicated their training room to the noted surgeon, who was in his 36th season with the organization.
Funds from the auction will go toward research and care for a disease that struck pitching coach Mike Butcher, who overcame a mild bout with thyroid cancer in 2011. Or former administrative assistant Carolyn Kartzke, who has what she hopes is her last round of chemotherapy for breast cancer on Monday. Or Tim Salmon's wife, Marci, who previously suffered from thyroid cancer. Or hitting coach Deron Johnson, who died of lung cancer while serving on the Angels' staff. Or Mara Forcey, who worked in the Angels' accounting office before liver cancer took her life while still in her early 30's. Or ex-manager Marcel Lachemann, a prostate cancer survivor.
Or Yocum, who was taken away too soon.
"He was genuine and he was truthful and he was honest," longtime Angels athletic trainer Rick Smith said shortly after losing his dear friend. "When he would say something, he would mean it. And it came from his heart."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less