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December 9, 2019

Stephen Piscotty

Melanie LeGrande

Jon Sciambi

San Diego, California

JON SCIAMBI: Hi, everybody. I'm Jon Sciambi, and it is my pleasure to welcome you all to this year's announcement of the 8th annual Winter Meetings Charity Auction. So thanks for being here. Appreciate it.

Obviously held during the baseball industry's largest gathering, it's a special annual auction that takes place. It was started by the public relations groups of MLB clubs and the commissioner's office, and it's an effort to support cause that's are deeply personal and connected to the sport and to those that work in the game.

Today we're announcing that the auction this year benefits ALS, and that, in part, is a cause personal to me.

Through this effort, nearly $1.5 million has been raised to remember those in the baseball family that we've lost -- namely, Monica Barlow, Shannon Ford, Katy Feeney -- as well as to support young people through education and sport, organizations leading the fight against cancer, and institutions honoring the cherished legacy of the sport, such as the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

So today I'm proud to formally announce that this year's Winter Meetings Charity Auction will benefit five charities and nonprofit organizations that are on the front line of the fight against ALS, known to many as Lou Gehrig's disease.

These five groups were all selected for their roles in raising awareness, funding research, and providing the best possible care for both caregivers and patients of the disease that affects hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

It's hard to believe that it was 80 years ago this past July that Lou Gehrig delivered his famous retirement speech at the old Yankee Stadium. From that day forward, baseball and ALS were undoubtedly linked, and unfortunately, we've seen more of us connected to the game who have been touched by this awful disease ever since.

So here are the groups that were chosen in acknowledgement of that and will benefit from this auction. First, the ALS Association, which is MLB's most consistent historical partner in the cause to fight ALS, and it's important to Jacob Nottingham, catcher with the Brewers organization, who lost both his grandmother and his aunt to ALS. As well, the ALS Therapy Development Institute for Sam Hilliard, outfielder for the Rockies organization, whose father was diagnosed with ALS in 2018. The Healey Center for ALS at Mass General for John Carlin, who's the producer for "Jimmy Kimmel Live" who's been a friend of baseball throughout the show. John is living with ALS and has received treatment at the Healey Center. His brother Chris is here, his sister-in-law Beth here as well. We thank them for being here, for their support. Thank you guys so much.

Project Main Street, which is close to my heart. I lost a childhood friend, Tim Sheehy. We met in 1977. He was diagnosed in 2005, passed from ALS in 2007. Growing up on Roosevelt Island in New York City on Main Street, we founded Project Main Street to care for those living with the disease. So this is personal for me, having lost him.

And last but not least, the ALS Cure Project, which is in recognition of our next speaker, who hit perhaps the most emotionally poignant moment of the 2018 season as he launched a ball into the Fenway Park sky for a home run in his first at-bat back from grieving the loss of his mother, Gretchen, who lost her brave but all too brief battle with ALS.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like you to welcome Stephen Piscotty.


STEPHEN PISCOTTY: Hello, everyone. I just want to thank the MLB and everyone here in support of ALS. Obviously, ALS has touched our family very closely, and there's so many other families within baseball that have been affected. I'm really appreciative of this initiative to raise more awareness and funding for a disease that is really, not overlooked, but just the funding dollars just aren't there, and strides can be made.

Our organization was very thankful for being part of this and receiving some of the benefits. Our mission is pretty simple, to find a cure, but it's not an easy task, but we want to get there. I think that's really important.

The ALS space just hasn't seen new advances that we think it can. So we're hopeful that, with some hard work and dedication, we can get there. So I just want to say thank you. I'm really happy to be here. Yeah, thank you very much.


JON SCIAMBI: Thank you, Stephen. Again, appreciate all of you being here for this. I'd be remiss if we continued and I didn't mention the Frates family. This cap here, Pete Frates, Boston College baseball player. Nancy and John, his parents, wanted to be here, but they had to stay back in Boston to care for Pete. Pete, who is the former BC baseball player who inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge, along with Pat Quinn, and raised millions of dollars for ALS research and continues to be an advocate even though he knows that the advances and the strides aren't going to benefit him.

Pete continues to fight strong and inspire everyone today. I wish Pete could be here, and, Pete, if you're watching, we love you. Keep fighting, pal.

Baseball remains committed to the ALS cause and continues to support the effort through actions like this charity auction. So to speak on the league's behalf, Vice President of Social Responsibility of MLB and someone who liaisons with these ALS groups, please welcome Melanie LeGrande.


MELANIE LEGRANDE: It's really great to be here this morning and to support this cause that is tied to Major League Baseball. It is forever tied to the sport, and over the years, as you mentioned, we have been raising dollars. We have been supporting different initiatives league-wide, like the Ice Bucket Challenge, and we have supported charities that have been named today and other charities as well tied to the cause.

On behalf of Major League Baseball, I'm here to say thank you to everyone for your support and for your helping us to make this the best auction year ever.

I want to start off, again, with a big, big thank you to Josh with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who leads this effort year in and year out, and he is hounding all the clubs, talking to people across the country and beyond, to make sure that we raise funds and support those in the fight against cancer or any other cause that we decide to support the auction with each year.

I also want to thank MLB Network. I want to thank each of the 30 clubs. There have been some amazing experiences and unique items that were donated this year, some of which I'll name. The luxury suites, the fact that you can go online and bid for a luxury suite at an amazing stadium is going to be a huge draw for a number of fans.

We have meet and greets that are available to bid on with stars like Mike Trout, Pete Alonso. Golf -- foursomes with Hall of Famers listed. And, of course, the crème de la crème, the All-Star package that's for 2020 in Los Angeles. So I encourage everyone to support the auction, to bid on these amazing experiences, and to help us raise the most money that we can.

Baseball has continued to utilize our platform and our assets to ignite fan engagement to support causes like this. When we all work together to benefit a cause, a great cause such as this, it's a win-win for everyone.

I want to echo what you mentioned about the Frates family and send a thank you and our love and support. Their dedication has been over the top in helping to find a cure and searching for research funds and supporting those who are caregivers.

So on behalf of Major League Baseball, again, I want to thank everyone for your support. Thank you for your commitment to this issue. Thank you for promotion that you'll be doing all week to ensure that we can make this the best year yet. So thank you very much on behalf of Major League Baseball.

I would remiss if I also didn't say thank you to Stephen and also his father, Mike, who we've been speaking for the past year and a half, and they are tireless in their efforts to raise funds to get grants out there to find a cure. Appreciate you coming in today and being here for this.

Jon, certainly, we've been talking for the past few years, and we're so grateful to have you in this fight with us as well. Thank you.


JON SCIAMBI: Melanie, thank you so much. I want to echo as well your dad, truly amazing and inspiring, Mike. Definitely want to thank him for all of his efforts, and obviously your whole family. So thank you.

One final yet huge thing, to everyone that generously donated these items and opportunities for fans to make lifelong memories, specifically, we want to thank Major League Baseball PR, but also the PR guys from -- the PR people from all the individual clubs. Probably during the year, we don't say thank you enough to you guys, but I do want to say we really appreciate your participation in this and your hard work, and I know you're scattered throughout, but for all the work that's being done to help, thank you to Major League Baseball PR staffs. Really appreciate it.

So, please, give yourselves a nice round of applause.


As well, Major League Baseball executives, coaches, managers, thank you. The auction right now is live now, and it is MLB.com/wintermeetingsauction, and it is live until Thursday, December 12th, at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. So go on there, and you can bid on their amazing auction items, as Melanie mentioned, and meet and greets, and all sorts of really cool stuff.

So we ask all the fans that are watching live at MLB.com, you can bid now. Bid often. We ask media, who are listening now, if you can get the word out, we appreciate that. On behalf of Major League Baseball, MLB clubs, the Frates family, John Carlin, the Carlin family, my late friend Tim Sheehy, Gretchen Piscotty, and to those of you out here who are living with ALS and have lost their fight, we thank you.

Right now we're going to take a group photo onstage with all the baseball PR reps that made this auction possible. So following that, our guests will be available for interviews. Thanks, everyone, for attending the press conference. We really appreciate it. Thank you.

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