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Rays to retire St. Petersburg officers' call signs before Friday's game

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays will retire three special numbers before Friday night's game against the Orioles: K-2, S-23 and 143-Bravo.

Those are the radio call signs of the three St. Petersburg police officers who died in the line of duty this year: K-9 Officer Jeffrey A. Yaslowitz (K-2), Sgt. Thomas J. Baitinger (S-23) and Officer David S. Crawford (143-Bravo.) All three will be honored by the Rays at a ceremony before the 7:10 p.m. game Friday.

Their radio call signs will be permanently displayed inside Tropicana Field by the right field wall. Members of the Yaslowitz and Crawford families will attend the official unveiling. Yaslowitz's oldest son, Caleb, is also set to throw the first pitch.

"These men were a part of our Tropicana Field family," Tampa Bay Rays president Matt Silverman said in a prepared statement. "Their service contributed to a safer St. Petersburg, and they also helped create a more welcoming environment at Rays games. We miss them dearly, and they will not be forgotten."

The radio call signs of law enforcement officers who die in the line of duty are usually retired by their respective agencies. They are called out one last time by dispatchers at their funeral.

The three officers died within 28 days of one another this winter, becoming the city's first police casualties in 30 years.

Rays to retire St. Petersburg officers' call signs before Friday's game 05/11/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 12, 2011 10:21am]

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