- The Washington Times - Monday, February 24, 2003

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. The widow of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler spoke yesterday to fans who attended the club's annual charity breakfast at the Fort Lauderdale Stadium complex.
Kiley Bechler stayed in South Florida this week after her husband died Monday morning from multisystem organ failure as a result of heatstroke. Orioles officials said she wanted to see the Orioles honor her husband by painting his number on the outfield wall and to attend yesterday's breakfast before flying back to Oregon later yesterday. Kiley, at the park with her mother and grandmother, had her picture taken next to her husband's memorial in the outfield.
"She got up and just thanked everybody and the organization for making a very difficult week for her a little bit easier," said Orioles vice president for baseball operations Mike Flanagan, who spent a great part of the week with Kiley and the Bechler family. "It was well-said, I think."
Flanagan said yesterday Orioles officials have talked with Steve Bechler's agent, Seth Levinson, to set up a trust fund for Kiley, who is pregnant and expecting a girl in April. Plans are expected to be finalized early this week. Flanagan said several major-league teams have contacted the Orioles about contributing to the trust.
Bechler's body was cremated, and a memorial service is planned in Oregon at an unknown date.
Flanagan has said several times how impressed he has been with the way Kiley handled herself this week. He said yesterday Kiley has kept a number of items, from her husband's jerseys and hats to newspaper articles, so she can tell her daughter what he was like and how much people cared about him.
"It was very important to her to have this sort of thing when the daughter became old enough to understand why her father wasn't there, that she would be able to have these things, to have something to show," Flanagan said.
Kiley and other members of the organization held a dinner Friday night to thank staff members from North Ridge Medical Center who worked to save Bechler's life.
"I think there is a genuine peace in knowing in going through that journey that everybody did all they could," Flanagan said.
Note
Pitcher Mike Garcia was struck below his left eye with a thrown ball during a drill yesterday and taken to a local hospital to be examined. Garcia, a spring training invitee, sustained what manager Mike Hargrove said was "a scrape" on his cheek.


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