SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles continued to pay tribute to the late Monica Pence Barlow, their former public relations director, on Saturday, one day after they departed en masse to pay their respects.
Barlow, who passed away after a bout with Stage IV lung cancer on February 28, was memorialized Friday night in her hometown of Harrisonburg, Va. A huge contingent of the team -- including manager Buck Showalter and several players -- flew to the funeral and back to Sarasota on Friday night.
One morning later, the team wore orange LUNGevity T-shirts during batting practice in honor of Barlow's chosen charity. Showalter said that he was proud of his players for making the trip and thankful to Peter Angelos, managing partner of the Orioles, who arranged for the team to travel on his plane.
"It went as well as could be expected last night. I'm glad we went," Showalter said Saturday. "It was tough for everybody. I don't think they realized. It's the Shenandoah Valley. Great place, salt of the earth. It was at the church where her father was the minister. A lot of people came down from Baltimore. They're actually going to stay for today. I wish we could've. I'm glad we went, but it was tough."
Adam Jones, Baltimore's All-Star center fielder, spoke Saturday about what Barlow meant to the team. Jones said that her loss was difficult to process for the team, but he also said that it was extraordinarily important to the players to show up and pay their respects.
"We respect the process and we respect her family," said Jones. "She's part of our family, so we've got to show face. Credit goes to Peter Angelos. He set the whole thing up. Everyone gives him flack about not doing this and not doing this. This is the true Peter Angelos, taking care of his family."
Jones, moments later, emphasized why it meant so much to show up and be present.
"This is my team," he said. "There's no way in hell I'd miss this. She taught me many, many things, how to carry myself as a professional athlete, as a man, and how to handle myself in this business. Even if Peter didn't set this up, I would have probably set something up to go up there."
Barlow, who was 36 years old, had worked for the Orioles as an intern after graduating from William and Mary, and she began her full-time tenure with Baltimore in 2001. Over the last 13 years, she had risen all the way to Director of Public Relations on the strength of her diligence and precision.
Barlow touched countless people in the Baltimore community, and Showalter said it was instructive for his players to see where she had come from and to hear stories from the people that knew her for her entire life. And with their simple show of respect, he said, they helped the community heal.
"With our players going, in that community, they'll talk about the visit. ... It will be something that keeps people talking about Monica for years to come," he said. "Our guys would've drove up there if we let them. It was more a case of we had to turn some guys away because we didn't have room."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less