SAN DIEGO -- Cancer hit home for the Twins organization in 2014, as general manager Terry Ryan went through a bout with neck cancer.
Ryan, 61, was diagnosed with squamous-cell carcinoma in early February, and had surgery to remove the cancerous mass from his neck on Feb. 11. He also underwent radiation treatment through the end of April, but was still able to fulfill his duties as general manager the rest of season with the help of his top assistants such as Rob Antony, Wayne Krivsky and Mike Radcliff.
So while Ryan is now cancer-free, the Twins certainly understand the importance of cancer research and treatment through Major League Baseball's partner Stand Up 2 Cancer. The Twins teamed up with SU2C for a memorable moment at the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field, with fans standing up throughout the ballpark holding placards with the names of loved ones affected by the disease.
And now the Twins are taking part in Major League Baseball's charity auction benefiting LUNGevity, as announced at the Winter Meetings on Monday. The initiative was inspired by the numerous employees, friends and fans of the game who have been directly affected by cancer.
Funds raised from this year's auction will be donated to LUNGevity, the largest national lung cancer-focused nonprofit, in memory of the late Baltimore Orioles public relations director Monica Barlow, who passed away in February after a battle with lung cancer.
"Major League Baseball is honored to conduct fundraising efforts for LUNGevity in memory of Monica Barlow," MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said. "As a social institution with important social responsibilities, our game's most valuable opportunities are those that make an impact on the lives of others. It is our privilege to contribute to an extraordinary cause."
The auction will be live on MLB.com until Thursday at 10 p.m. CT. All 30 clubs are taking part and offering several unique experiences such as meet-and-greets with players and executives, the chance to take batting practice at a Major League stadium and opportunities to interact with Hall of Famers.
The Twins are offering the following:
• The chance to sit in on Twins manager Paul Molitor's pregame media session. The winning bidder also has access to watch on-field batting practice, two tickets to the select game, dinner in the Twins' dining room and an autographed item from Molitor. The select game will be decided by both parties' availability.
• The opportunity to be the team photographer for the day. The winning bidder will receive the opportunity to shadow and shoot alongside Twins team photographer Brace Hemmelgarn during a 2015 regular-season game. As a photographer, the winner will have access to on-field photo areas before and during the game, where he or she can photograph the game in its entirety. In addition, a photo captured by the individual will be used on the Twins' social media sites. The select game will be decided by both parties' availability. The winner must be at least 18 years old and be able to supply his or her own camera equipment.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.