The 2012 Winter Meetings are in mid-meeting form. R.A. Dickey is going to be traded. No, wait, he’s going to be extended. Jonathon Niese is the one who will move. No, wait, the return won’t be big enough so he’s staying put. Mets are interested in John Lannan. No, wait, he’ll want too much money. Jason Bay is going to sign with the Mariners. That one will stick, probably… All-in-all, it’s enough to induce vertigo.
A brief break is clearly in order, then.
Last Thursday, the twenty-ninth of November, I had the distinct pleasure to attend a fund-raising dinner for something called “Hope Shines For Shannon.” It was put together by a group of friends in support of a remarkable woman, a Mets’ employee, Shannon Forde. As senior director of media relations, Shannon has been a godsend to those of us in the Mets-blogging game. She has been instrumental in putting together the various blogger access events over the past couple of years. She has also been a sympathetic ear and a pillar to lean on whenever a blogger-type seems overwhelmed or star-struck. Recently, she was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. She, her husband and two kids were facing a mountain of bills for her treatment. In true Holiday fashion, the worlds in which she travels came crashing together: the Mets, baseball in general, fans, family, girlfriends, and the odd blogger all gathered at the Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park, N. J., George Bailey-style. Even a hurricane couldn’t put this event off: it was originally scheduled for November first, but Sandy (not Alderson) had something else in mind. There were prizes to be won, silent auction items upon which to bid – I was particularly sad that I couldn’t pony up enough to make an offer on a vintage New York Baseball Giants jersey autographed by Willie Mays – and a live auction of all kinds of fun stuff, MCed by various former Mets and other personalities. Ron Darling was the host for the evening.
When my wife and I arrived, we were at first struck by exactly how many people actually showed up. I was talking to a friend who told me they were hoping to sell 450 plates. 950 bought in. I hobnobbed with a few people I know from the blogging community, then was fortunate enough to find myself at a cocktail table with Gary Cohen’s wife. Quite a lovely woman and wonderful to chat with. From there, I became star struck: I saw Marty Noble, Sweeney Murti, Joe Beningno, Ed Coleman, Jon Sterling and Suzyn Waldman: a galaxy from the deep space of newspapering and talk radio. A delicious dinner and unlimited cocktails later, the live auctions started. From where we sat, these were mainly unintelligible, though we could tell who was running them: Dwight Gooden in a ski cap, Al Leiter, who yelled at us about what he thought was an insufficient bid, Sterling and Waldman, who I had to keep myself from booing.
Finally, Howie Rose introduced Shannon’s boss, Jay Horwitz, the dean of MLB PR guys. Jay, then introduced the guest of honor, Shannon Forde. Shannon gave a beautiful speech, warning us ahead of time that she wouldn’t be looking up from her prepared notes for fear of starting to cry.
A wonderful evening, a great cause, a lot of love in the room – even from the Yankees, Braves and Phillies representatives in the room – and a living example of everyone willing to “Stand Up 2 Cancer.”
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley.