It has been a few weeks since the New Britain Rock Cats played at home on a weekend, and their fans went crazy over every pitch, strike and hit.
The Friday night treat came with a bonus as Rock Cats staff handed out signs to make minor league history.
Spectators were asked to write down the names of loved ones affected by cancer.
“I’m standing up to cancer for my grandfather, who we lost 3 years ago this October. He died of lung cancer. We only found out a week before he passed away,” said Lauren Grotole, a Rock Cats fan.
After the top of the fourth inning, the game was put on hold to remember cancer victims. The crowd held up their memories. Each Rock Cats player and all of their opponents did, too.
“It’s great, really exciting. We’re really all going to stand up to cancer,” said Heather Carter, who said she has multiple family members and friends affected by the disease.
The 90-second demonstration was one of solidarity and is meant to raise awareness.
“It needs attention,” said Pierre Lepage, a nurse. “We continue to look for treatment to help with cancer.”
The rain scared some of the sellout crowd away, exactly what the Rock Cats hope to do to cancer. They’re the first team in the minor leagues to organize the event. Their major league affiliate, the Minnesota Twins, did the same thing at the beginning of the season.
“Everyone has a story with regards to how it affected them,” said Rock Cats General Manager Tim Restall. He lost his father to cancer and said his mother battled the disease, too.
“It’s a terrible disease that needs to find a cure, and this is one way, our way, of supporting it and showing that we stand with them,” said Restall.
The Standup 2 Cancer organization gives 100 percent of donations to cancer research.
The New Britain Rock Cats will contribute by auctioning off Stand up 2 Cancer T-shirts they practiced in.