'Play Ball' charity auction features Cubs items

Fans can bid to meet broadcasters, play catch on the field and watch BP on the field

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Want to meet Cubs broadcasters Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies plus attend a game? How about play catch in the outfield at Wrigley?

You can do that and support a good cause. Major League Baseball and all 30 teams have organized a Play Ball charity auction benefiting youth baseball and softball in Little Ferry, N.J., the hometown for Shannon Forde, a director of media relations for the Mets who lost her battle against breast cancer. The money raised from the auction will help renovate a field in Forde's name.

There are more than 100 unique baseball-related experiences and memorabilia packages. The auction at MLB.com/Shannon runs throughout the Winter Meetings, ending Thursday at 8 p.m. CT.

Among the Cubs-related items up for bid are:

Meet the broadcasters: Fans will receive four field-box tickets to a mutually agreed upon game plus have the opportunity to meet Cubs broadcasters Kasper, Deshaies, Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer.

Dream day at the Confines: The winning bidder will receive four field-box tickets to a mutually agreed upon game. Fans also will be able to watch batting practice from the field.

Catch in the Confines: Fans can bid on the chance to play catch for 30 minutes prior to a night game at Wrigley Field. The catch will take place in the afternoon before batting practice. The package includes four pregame field passes and four field-box tickets to that night's game.

The Shannon Forde Field will be located across from where Forde grew up. It's where Forde played with her sister, Alicia, and her niece when she was a kid. Forde's father, Mike, coached softball there for years. Hopefully, Forde's two children -- Nicki, 9, and Kendall, 6 -- can play there for years to come.

There are plenty of other unique baseball-themed items in the auction, including dinner with the D-backs' Luis Gonzalez and Randy Johnson, a Red Sox grounds crew experience, team photographer for a day with the Royals or Angels, and the chance to invite the Famous Klement's Racing Sausages to your home for a summer barbecue.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.