[Pic via Gene Sweeney Jr. / The Baltimore Sun]
The sports PR world suffered a tragic blow last week as Monica Barlow, head of PR for the Baltimore Orioles, passed away after a battle with lung cancer at the age of 36.
Barlow was, by all accounts, a consummate professional—and the days since her death have witnessed an outpouring of fond remembrances from both Orioles reps and the journalists who covered the team.
In announcing her passing, manager and MLB vet Buck Showalter said that “We lost a feather from the Oriole today…she made our jobs so much easier”. A Baltimore Sun op-ed by Eduardo A. Encina, junior member of the team’s press corps, proclaimed that Barlow “epitomized the ‘Oriole Way'”, noting that “She didn’t want to be defined by her illness and she never wanted even a hint of sympathy.”
Producer Milton Kent of Baltimore NPR affiliate WYPR gave a particularly touching tribute yesterday. While we can’t embed the segment, we urge you to listen to it here.
“My suspicion is that Monica Pence Barlow, the Orioles’ former public relations director, would be embarrassed that so many people know her name and what she did…by every accounting, did her job efficiently and effectively without asking for special accommodations.
The relationship between publicists and the press can be a contentious one…It doesn’t take Nostradamus to see that occasionally the purposes of the two sides clash.
It’s a remarkable tribute to the person Monica Barlow was that writers, bloggers and anchors alike have paid heartfelt tributes to her integrity and her work ethic.”
High praise for a woman who embodied all we should aspire to be.
Barlow’s most important role may have been serving as a spokeswoman and fundraiser for both the MLB’s Stand Up to Cancer initiative and LUNGevity Foundation, the nation’s largest lung cancer-focused nonprofit organization. A statement from the foundation calls her “an extraordinary ally in the daily battle our organization and others fight against this disease.”
Visit the LUNGevity home page for more information.