Marlins pitch in for worthy Play Ball auction

Bids for meet and greet with Mattingly, Yelich to benefit charity of late Mets PR executive

Marlins pitch in for worthy Play Ball auction

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- For Marlins manager Don Mattingly, sacrificing a little bit of his time will go a long way for a worthwhile cause.

Mattingly and outfielder Christian Yelich each have agreed to participate in a meet-and-greets with the winning bidders in Major League Baseball's Play Ball Charity Auction.

Major League Baseball and all 30 clubs have organized a charity auction benefiting youth baseball and softball in Little Ferry, N.J., the hometown of former Mets senior director of media relations Shannon Forde. A dedicated employee, Forde lost her battle with breast cancer earlier this year and the funds from this auction will help in building a field in her name that will ensure that her legacy lives on forever. Bid on more than 100 unique baseball related experiences or memorabilia packages for this worthwhile cause.

"Almost everyone has been touched in some way by cancer," Mattingly said at the Winter Meetings on Monday. "My mom had stomach cancer. We've all been touched by someone, it seems like, who has been touched by cancer."

The auction launched on Monday and runs through the conclusion of the Winter Meetings (9 p.m. ET) on Thursday.

The highest bidder will meet with Mattingly at some point during Spring Training, while the winner of the Yelich auction can mingle with the outfielder during the regular season.

For a worthwhile cause, Mattingly embraces the chance to help fans better enjoy their baseball experience.

"To do something for someone, it's pretty simple," Mattingly said. "You get a chance to meet people. They get a chance to have an on-field experience. It always feels good when you are able to do something to raise money."

In the Mattingly auction, the winning bidder will receive four tickets to a Marlins Spring Training game, and four passes to watch batting practice on the field during a 2017 game at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla.

During pregame, Mattingly will meet with the winners.

In the Yelich auction, the top bidder will get four tickets for a regular-season game (excluding Opening Day) at Marlins Park. The package includes free parking and four passes to watch batting practice on the field. Yelich will meet with the group prior to the game.

"For people who love the game, it's not that easy to get down on the field," Mattingly said. "People are donating money to help find a cure. From our standpoint, it's pretty simple. It's bringing people down to the field. They get to enjoy the day, and knowing the money is being raised for a good cause."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.