LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Mike Trout's talent pays off in big ways on the field, but his name alone can have quite the impact away from it, as well.
The star outfielder is part of a groundbreaking auction that is set to raise thousands for cancer research, and all that was required was offering a few minutes of his time.
The Angels are taking part in a Major League Baseball-wide project to benefit Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), as all 30 teams offer unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences in exchange for charitable donations. Trout's meet-and-greet, which includes four tickets to a game and a batting-practice visit on the field with the All-Star outfielder, had garnered a total of 23 bids, with the highest reaching $2,025.
Add to that the $621 offering for a meet-and-greet with manager Mike Scioscia and a $920 bid for a private hitting lesson with coach Don Baylor, and the Angels' contribution alone will be worth at least $3,566 -- all of which will be donated to SU2C.
As Day 3 of the Winter Meetings winded down on Wednesday, the overall dollar figures for the auction continued to show a dramatic increase with each passing hour.
At 5 p.m. ET, the total amount bid for the MLB's venture to raise funds for cancer research was $63,311.27, spanning 483 bids. The SU2C list of items of up for bid has generated 39,338 page views.
The MLB.com Auction to benefit Stand Up To Cancer is part of a much larger initiative that 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.
Three MLB PR representatives have been dealing with the cancer for the past several years: Shannon Forde, a longtime member of the Mets' media relations staff; the Cardinals' Melody Yount, and the Orioles' Monica Barlow. Because media relations folks have a direct line to and close relationships with the ballplayers, they were able to cook up a doozy of a list of enticing prizes to offer in the auction.
The items up for bid aren't just your garden-variety signed bats and balls, although those are included in several packages. If the items seem a little over the top, they are -- on purpose. The goal is to raise as much money as possible to fight cancer, a disease that has touched the lives of just about everyone in the world in some fashion, and club employees have purposely put together a list of eye-popping items that hopefully will be irresistible to the charity-minded fan base.
Bidding closes at 7 p.m. PT 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.
Last year, the auction raised more than $150,000. Major League Baseball and its 30 clubs are the founding partners of SU2C since 2008, committing more than $40 million through 2014. As the initiative's founding donor, MLB has collaborated with Stand Up To Cancer on significant awareness-building efforts, including public service announcements, in-stadium promotion and fundraising events, and a World Series game has been dedicated to the initiative for the past three years.