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Buck Showalter, MLB public relations staffers pay tribute to Monica Barlow

SAN DIEGO — For the past two years, Major League Baseball's public relations departments have come together to organize auctions to benefit cancer research.

This year, after the death of Orioles public relations director Monica Barlow to lung cancer in February, they have chosen for this year's auction to benefit LUNGevity, the country's largest lung cancer advocacy group.

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The auction will include once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like a meet-and-greet with the likes of AL Most Valuable Player Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels or Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, the chance to watch three innings from inside Fenway Park's Green Monster, playing catch in the Wrigley Field outfield and even a private pottery lesson with Brewers infielder Scooter Gennett.

Among the Orioles auctions are the chance to take out a lineup card with manager Buck Showalter, Little League lessons from shortstop J.J. Hardy, a golf outing with former Orioles Jim Palmer and Rick Dempsey. Items can be bid on until 11 p.m. ET Thursday on MLB.com.

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"I think the one thing I've taken out of this whole experience is how quickly it can change," Showalter said during a news conference at baseball's winter meetings Monday. "Even in a week's time, two weeks' time, a month's time, how many treatments come available that are better? It's not something we're doing that could happen 10 years from now. It can happen tomorrow. It can happen two weeks from now.

"You think this is is something that can just impact down the road. It can be tomorrow. It can be next week when someone won't have to go through the loss of a Monica Barlow. ... I'm still ticked off about Monica being gone. They say it will all be revealed to you, well, I'm still looking forward to hearing the answer to why she was taken. So when I come to things like this, it makes me feel a lot better about it."

During the news conference, public relations staffers wore gray T-shirts that said, "4 LUNGEVITY," on the front and, "4 MONICA," in orange and black on the back.

"You talk about the impact people have on everybody's lives, and we've all been touched by Monica," Showalter said. "The thing I take right now is how much delight she would take from getting everybody in Baltimore Oriole colors today. She would love that."

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The past two seasons, MLB has raised $250,000 through their winter auctions for Stand Up 2 Cancer.

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