NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Indians are thrilled to participate in the fifth annual Play Ball Charity Auction, especially since it will honor the memory of Shannon Forde.
Forde, who was the Mets' senior media relations director, passed away in March at the age of 44 due to breast cancer, and she was admired throughout the game. On Monday at the Winter Meetings, it was announced that this year's auction will raise money for renovation of a baseball and softball field in Forde's name in her hometown of Little Ferry, N.J.
"It's a great avenue to extend her memory," said Bart Swain, the Indians' director of baseball information. "I'm sure that it's something her kids are going to really enjoy, seeing their mom's name on the park. What a unique idea and a great idea by the Mets and Play Ball. She impacted a lot of lives and now, through her memory, she'll continue to impact kids and grow the game."
The auction, which features unique experiences for all 30 Major League teams, is live at MLB.com/Shannon until 9 p.m. ET on Thursday. All proceeds from the auction will fund the renovations through MLB Charities. Auctions from the previous four years have raised almost $700,000.
Here are the items up for auction from the Indians:
Take Batting Practice on the Field: The winning bidder will get to not only take batting practice before a game, but watch the Indians' pregame hitting from on the field. The package includes four lower-box tickets for a mutually agreed upon date (optimal dates are Saturdays in the summer months). The experience lasts around a half-hour and roughly 3 1/2 hours before that day's game.
West Coast Tribe Fan: The Indians will be in the Bay Area for six days after the All-Star break next season. That includes a three-game series at Oakland (July 14-16) and three more games at San Francisco (July 17-19). As part of this package, the winning bidder can cap off the week by watching batting practice on the field, meeting manager Terry Francona and having four tickets to the July 18 game at AT&T Park.
Goodyear, Ariz., Experience: This package includes a tour of the Indians' spring headquarters in Arizona. The winner will get to take in a morning workout, meet Francona and a player (to be determined) and have lunch in the Minor League dining area. The package will include four tickets to that day's Cactus League game on a mutually agreed upon date (excluding March 14 and 27).
"It's pretty neat," Swain said. "We stuck with the BP experience again, and with Goodyear, it's a great facility. There's some behind-the-scenes stuff and everything is a lot looser in Spring Training. We felt that would be a unique package. And then, us being on the West Coast for a week, we thought maybe some people would make a little vacation out of that and that package would be a bow on the present for that week."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.