NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Looking for a chance for a private lesson from Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis? How about an autographed Felix Hernandez "K" card, signed after his perfect game, or a chance to spend a day as a member of the Mariners media at a game?
Those are the items being put up by the Mariners as part of the MLB.com Auction to benefit Stand Up To Cancer, which MLB has supported since 2008 as founding sponsor.
Public-relations representatives from all 30 clubs were inspired to act based on individual club members affected by the disease, and they jointly organized the auction and announced it on Monday in Nashville, with MLB staff. Auction bidding closes at 8:59 p.m. PT on Thursday with more than 70 baseball-related experiences, ranging from clubhouse tours by players to lunches with general managers to team bus rides to meet-and-greets with 14 Hall of Fame players.
The Mariners-related items up for bid are a 30-minute pitching lesson at Safeco Field from Willis; a Hernandez perfect game package that includes a signed "K" card, a perfect-game DVD and more; and the chance to be a media member VIP for a day, experiencing behind-the-scenes action from Safeco Field.
Tim Hevly, the Mariners' director of baseball information, said supporting Stand Up To Cancer is a personal issue for many members of the club as well as co-workers across the game.
"The PR people in baseball, like everyone, have been touched closely by the impact of cancer, and we felt this was a chance to draw attention to Stand Up To Cancer," Hevly said. "It's a disease that has hit us all close to home. And I think everybody in baseball feels like we are part of one big family, so when a co-worker is struck by it, we all feel it.
"Here at the Mariners, we've had players who've dealt with it, like Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders," Hevly said. "My own wife and father have been affected. It's hit [team president] Chuck Armstrong's family, as well as other people in the front office and baseball operations. It's something you feel personally, because people you're close to are dealing with it."
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.