- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2003

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. Family and teammates of Steve Bechler joined members of the Baltimore Orioles' staff for a memorial service for the pitcher, who died Monday at 23.
They came together in the Orioles' clubhouse at the Fort Lauderdale Stadium complex for a ceremony that lasted about 35 minutes. The families of Bechler, including his parents, Ernie and Pat, and widow Kiley attended the service, as well as Orioles owner Peter Angelos, executive vice president for baseball operations Jim Beattie, vice president Mike Flanagan, manager Mike Hargrove and a host of current and former teammates.
"When a young, presumably healthy young man dies, it defies explanation," Angelos said. "He had a great future ahead of him and words can't adequately describe the feeling."
Rev. David Taylor, of Baseball Chapel and chaplain at St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton, Fla., spoke to the gathering, as did Pat Bechler, brother Michael Bechler and close friend and Orioles pitcher Matt Riley. Minor-league coaches Dave Schmidt and Scott McGregor also addressed the group, as did Kiley.
Riley was the only player to speak. While he could not be reached for comment after the ceremony, he spoke yesterday afternoon about Bechler, whom he got along with because they both had easygoing, relaxed approaches to life and didn't take things too seriously.
"I'm going to get up and talk and let his parents and everyone know what he meant to me and my teammates," Riley said. "It will help because it will bring everyone together … it's a somber moment, but we're paying our respects."
Bechler's family has acknowledged that he had trouble with hot conditions throughout his life, just one of the factors, including a history of borderline hypertension, a liver abnormality, poor diet and the almost definite presence of the stimulant ephedrine in his system.
Note Melvin Mora was the only notable position player who did not participate in yesterday's workouts. He could not get a flight out of the Baltimore area.


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