Scoring tickets to a World Series game would be a dream come true for almost any baseball fan. But for Bachelor alum Sarah Newlon, that dream has been turned into something of a nightmare by what she says is a misunderstanding.
On Sunday, Oct. 27, during Game Four of the 2013 Fall Classic between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox, held at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, fans and players alike took a few moments to honor cancer survivors and victims by holding up signs for people close to them who had been affected by the disease. The signs read, "I Stand Up For...," with a blank space to write in a name or two.
During the tribute, Newlon -- a contestant on Brad Womack's first go-around as The Bachelor back in 2007 -- was caught on camera laughing and holding up a sign with the name of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who has not been diagnosed with the disease. Many viewers and bloggers immediately assumed she was making a joke about Molina having cancer and started criticizing her for the seeming inappropriateness of her actions.
Newlon says, however, that the whole incident has been taken out of context, and that she's actually a huge Molina fan. (Indeed, a quick look at her Twitter account proves her allegiance to the Red Birds.)
"Here's what happened," she tells Us Weekly. "Being from St. Louis, I'm a huge Cardinals fan. My boyfriend is from Boston, and is a huge Red Sox fan. We were both so excited to come to St. Louis and watch our favorite teams play against each other. As we were walking into the stadium with thousands of other people, a girl handing out signs said, 'We're doing a Stand Up to Cancer thing during the seventh inning,' and asked me who my favorite player was. I said Molina, and she wrote his name on the sign."
She continues: "I didn't think anything of it and put the sign under my seat during the game. I was having a great time with my boyfriend and laughing the entire time, because how can you not when you're at the World Series, watching your favorite team?"
During the Stand Up 2 Cancer moment, she adds, "We weren't paying attention [and didn't realize] that it was supposed to be a solemn moment. If I had paid better attention and known, I would've written my mom's name on the sign, as she's a two-time breast cancer survivor and I'm at high risk for breast cancer."
Newlon also notes that her boyfriend -- identified as Billy Christy on Twitter -- "did Movember last year to raise money for prostate cancer, and is signed up to do it again" this year. "We should never make a joke about cancer," she tells Us. "It was an innocent mistake that got blown out of proportion by social media."
Indeed, Newlon told St. Louis news site Riverfront Times that she has been getting hate tweets telling her to die and never return to Cardinal nation. This, despite her attempts to set the record straight after the game.
"For those that think I would ever mock cancer, my sign meant which player inspires me to stand up to cancer," she tweeted on Sunday. "I'm sorry it came across poorly. In no way would we ever laugh or make fun of cancer."