Winter Meetings interview: Mets Charity Auction

JAY HORWITZ: Good morning, everybody. For anybody here who is in the back room either wants to make their way over here or to those in front here, we welcome you.

It's certainly a day that none of us hoped we would have to have an event like this, but for the baseball family, for the PR family, for the Mets family, it's a very special day for us to be making an announcement today about Shannon Forde Field.

Many of you aware from the last five years, all of the teams have gotten together and put together an auction that's raised close to $700,000 already, and we're excited about what we're going to be able to do this year.

Before I go ahead and introduce our first speaker, I'd like to ask the entire Mets family to come up here to the stage. With that, I would like to introduce the chief operating officer of the New York Mets, Jeff Wilpon, to say a few words.

JEFF WILPON: Well, thank you. I think a picture says a thousand words. So this is what Shannon meant to all of us. Again, to have this kind of recognition for her and her hometown, for her family, for Jay, for everybody else. We're tremendously proud to be the recipients of this and accept this. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I thank Pat and everybody else who was behind this to make this field happen.

Again, all I can say is this is the group that loves and misses Shannon every single day. Not much more you can say. It's bittersweet to be talking about this kind of tribute to such a young mother and friend and person that we lost way too soon. Jay?

JAY HORWITZ: Thank you, Jeff. On behalf of Shannon's family, her mom and dad, Mike and Debbie, her husband, John, we just want to thank Major League Baseball for bestowing such a great honor to Shannon.

The Shannon Forde Field will be exactly across where she grew up in Little Ferry, New Jersey. It was her parents' house. It's the same field she played on with her sister Alicia and her niece when she was a kid. It's the same field that her father Mike coached softball for years and years. It's the same field which her young kids, Nicki and Kendall, will play for years and years. Nicki is 9 and Kendall is 6, and they probably don't know what kind of a person her mother was. Hopefully, in years to come, when they look up and see Shannon Forde Field, they get an idea of what kind of mom they had.

On behalf of the family, again, I just wanted to thank MLB for bestowing such a wonderful honor on such a wonderful person. Thank you very much.

JOSH RAWITCH: For those of us who have worked closely over the years and know how much Jay meant to Shannon, to hear those words, it's important to all of us to get the word out about this auction. It's very simple, easy to remember. mlb.com/Shannon is where you want to go.

To talk about the field, from Major League Baseball, Melanie LeGrande can give us details about the field itself.

MELANIE LeGRANDE: Hi, Melanie LeGrande, director of community affairs for MLB. Alongside our senior VP of youth programs, Tony Reagins, we have been working with the Bureau of Little Ferry and also the Little Ferry Police Athletic League, which was just established early this year. So we are really excited to bring some programming to this field. It was formerly known as Merhoff Field. It's going to Shannon Forde Field.

And I wanted to give a nod to Paula, who is with the Borough, and Detective Michael Hinchcliffe, who is leading the efforts to get some programming on this field which has not had programming in the past. They're going to start with the phasing approach, probably with two ball and softball and baseball. And we're going to work alongside them to make sure this is up and ready in the springtime and summertime.

The Borough Council has been leading this effort and they're going to have a small committee alongside the police athletic league and get this together. So we're pleased to partner with everybody else in getting this Shannon Forde Field off the ground and running. So thank you.

JOSH RAWITCH: The very last thing for anybody who has covered a Mets game or gotten help frankly from Shannon or anybody in the world of PR, I'm sure you're asking what can you do to help? It's really simple. The biggest thing you can do is share this on social media. The success we have had the last handful of years really is driven by the amount of people who know about these auction items. There is some amazing stuff, everything from private pitching lessons with players, people are going to do things that you simply can't buy anywhere else, and that was our goal. And it's all being done in Shannon's memory. So if you're out there and you're listening to us talk, tweet out the link, mlb.com/Shannon and let everybody know this is as unique as it gets. It's underway and it will be running through the end of Winter Meetings, Thursday night at 9 ET.

Thank you for taking the time to be here today. Thank you for those who are going to help us get the word out. And we're excited to do something meaningful in Shannon's name. So thank you very much.