The Aberdeen IronBirds announced plans Monday to honor the two Harford County Sheriff's Office deputies killed in the line of duty earlier this year with a special uniform patch when the Class A short-season affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles begins the season in June.
The tribute will also include a special opening night ceremony to remember Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey and Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon, who were shot to death in Abingdon on Feb. 10 by a man police wanted to question. The killer was later fatally shot by other deputies.
"In partnership with the Harford County Sheriff's Office, the IronBirds will honor the fallen deputies throughout its 2016 season, both at home and on the road," the team said in a statement.
Throughout the 2016 season, all IronBirds players will wear jerseys embroidered with a specialized patch as a season-long dedication to all law enforcement.
The patches will feature a gray American flag with a blue stripe through the middle and are included on all four sets of uniforms worn by the team at all home and away games. In addition, the badge numbers of the two fallen deputies will be painted on the field at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium and prominently displayed throughout the entire season.
"This is a powerful opportunity to honor and pay tribute to the local deputies who gave their lives while serving the citizens of Harford County," said Glenn Valis, senior vice president of Ripken Baseball, which owns the IronBirds. "As a former law enforcement officer, and father of two who currently serve, it is incredibly important that we continue to honor only those who have passed in the line of duty, as well as those who continue to keep our communities safe every day, locally and throughout the country."
A pre-game dedication ceremony will also be held during the IronBirds' Opening Night on Wednesday, June 22, including a moment of silence and recognition of two reserved seats that will sit empty in honor of Senior Deputy Daily and Deputy First Class Logsdon.
Those seats will be vacant for all of the team's home games, IronBirds spokesperson Katy Ford said.
Family members of the fallen deputies will also be present to throw out the game's ceremonial first pitch.
The IronBirds also plan to designate a Harford County Sheriff's Office Appreciation Night later in the season, where all Harford County deputies will be invited to attend the game and be recognized.
The team is still working with the Sheriff's Office to determine the date, Ford said.
"Ever since the stadium first opened, and the IronBirds moved to Aberdeen, they have been a constant contributor and supporter of the communities here in Harford County. This outward showing of support and dedication to the members of the Harford County Sheriff's Office and recognizing the sacrifice made by Pat and Mark, is truly inspiring and a testament to the character of the IronBirds organization," Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said in a statement released through Ripken Baseball.
Throughout the season, officers and staff from the Harford County Sheriff's Office will be recognized through the Leidos' "Hometown Heroes" program, which honors a local member of the community prior to every IronBirds home game.
"Hometown Heroes" come from all walks of life and every corner of the community, and the IronBirds want to hear about all of them. Nominations are open to public submissions through the IronBirds' Facebook page. Selected "Hometown Heroes" will receive two tickets to a future IronBirds game and a chance to take the lineup card out with the team's manager.
The IronBirds open their season on June 17 on the road against the Hudson Valley Renegades, followed by a series at the Staten Island Yankees before the June 22 Opening Night at Leidos Field at Ripken, at 7:05 p.m. against the Auburn Doubledays.
Season seat memberships and group outings are available by calling an IronBirds representative at 410-297-9292. For more information and to order tickets, visit www.IronBirdsBaseball.com.