Even though the Orioles have made plans to honor late public relations director Monica Barlow as part of a pregame ceremony on Opening Day, players would like to have another way to remember Barlow on the field throughout the season.
That’s not the easiest thing to do, because Major League Baseball has strict uniform regulations that prevent players from making alterations to uniforms on their own.
The Orioles will honor Barlow — as well as team investor and Baltimore-born novelist Tom Clancy, former Gold Glove outfielder Paul Blair and 10 other members of the Orioles family who passed away since last Opening Day — during a pregame video tribute Monday before the Orioles play their season opener against the Boston Red Sox.
Barlow died Feb. 28 after a nearly four-and-a-half–year battle with lung cancer at age 36.
But Orioles first baseman Chris Davis said this past week that Barlow meant so much to them as players that they have discussed ways to carry her memory onto the field with them during every game.
“I think that’s the big reason we wanted to and still want to do something to honor her on the field,” Davis said. “Aside from the way we’re going to play and the way we’re going to remember her in that aspect, I feel like the guys in here, despite what Major League Baseball says, want to do something to honor her. It means a lot.
“There are so many people in this circle who people don’t really see because they’re not on the field wearing the uniforms, but they’re just as important — if not more important — than we are. It’s just an honor to the job she did, but what kind of person she is. ... I know we have rules to follow. Hopefully, we can get together and do something to honor her. I think that would be fitting.”
Players who alter their uniform in any way are subject to one equipment violation warning and subsequent fines. The Orioles will wear a patch to honor Clancy on their jersey sleeve, a request that was approved by MLB.
MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said that uniform rules were created because players began putting random messages and flags on caps.
Courtney added that MLB offices have not received any additional request to honor Barlow in a certain way, but added that MLB is “more than willing to speak with the Orioles about any idea they have.”
“We all have noticed and have been really impressed with the extent the Orioles want to honor Monica,” Courtney added.
Davis said he’s spoken with fellow veterans Adam Jones and Matt Wieters about possible ways to honor Barlow. They talked about putting up a plaque in the clubhouse, but a limited number of people ever have access to that area.
During their first home spring training game March 1, several Orioles players wore gray wristbands with Barlow’s initials on them. The team also wore orange T-shirts with the logo of Lungevity -- a nonprofit organization working to increase lung cancer awareness that Barlow worked closely with -- with the words “In Memory of Monica” during batting practice of both games of a split-squad doubleheader this spring.
One idea being considered is making a jersey with Barlow’s name on it to hang in the dugout during games, much like the Red Sox did last year with a “Boston Strong 617” jersey following the Boston Marathon bombings.
Courtney said that could work. The team wouldn’t need MLB permission to make a jersey.
“In my opinion, that would be something I’d like to do,” Davis said. “I think the plaque, that’s going to happen regardless, but I think it would be cool for other people to know not only how big of an impact she had on us but how much we’re thinking about her.
“Once we get out there [to Baltimore] and get settled we will try to get something done,” Davis added. “All this stuff that’s being talked about, it’s something that she would have been very much against. That’s the reason she was so loved, because it was never about her. It was always about us.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun