Charity auction to help recognize Forde

Proceeds through 9 p.m. ET Thursday will help renovate complex

Charity auction to help recognize Forde

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Major League Baseball's Play Ball charity auction, an annual Winter Meetings initiative, has taken on a more personal tone this year for the Mets.

A portion of proceeds from this week's auction will go toward the renovation and renaming of a youth baseball and softball field in honor of Shannon Forde, the Mets' staffer who passed away from breast cancer in March.

The auction runs through 9 p.m. ET Thursday at MLB.com/Shannon.

"It's a great gesture on the part of Major League Baseball, as well as the Mets, to recognize Shannon, particularly in her hometown," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "It's a great and lasting memorial."

Proceeds from the auction will go toward renaming a complex in Forde's hometown of Little Ferry, N.J., to "Shannon Forde Field." MLB and the Mets will use funds to renovate the field by adding dugouts with protective fencing and benches, perimeter fencing, bleachers, a backstop, a scoreboard and field signs. Money will also go toward enhancing youth programming at the complex.

"I'm very happy about this," Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said. "I think it's an amazing tribute to an amazing woman that we all miss every day at the office. … This was a tremendous loss. And I think this is just an amazing honor. Hopefully they raise a great deal of money to be able to do this. … To be able to do this and be part of it is really something that we're proud of."

Inspired by MLB's numerous employees and friends who have been affected by cancer, the Play Ball initiative has raised more than $685,000 since its inception five years ago. This year's auction items include a 2017 All-Star Experience in Miami, a pitching lesson with San Francisco's Johnny Cueto, meet-and-greets with stars like Mike Trout and Jose Altuve and similar prizes.

Mets-centric events include dinner with SNY announcers Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling, a chance to be a Mets intern for a day and an opportunity to be a Mets photographer or social media coordinator for a day.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.