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Saturday, June 22

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Baseball Wed Aug 18 2010

Chicago's Finest and Bravest do battle Saturday

Chicago's Finest baseball logoSerious bragging rights will be on the line this weekend when baseball teams from the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Fire Department face off in their annual game at US Cellular Field.

The two teams have played every year since 2000 to raise money for charities that honor their fallen co-workers. But, CPD player-manager Eric Diaz said that once they hit the field the players are far from charitable.

"We have a mutual respect for each other, but between the lines we definitely get after it," Diaz siad.

Sgt. Diaz plays second base for the police squad and has been a part of the team since they first started playing. He played high school ball at perennial South Side power Brother Rice. He said most of the players on both teams played in high school, college or the minor leagues.

The teams play roughly a 25-game schedule including three or four tournaments at different sites around the country. The police also host a tournament in Chicago each summer. This year the Finest and the Bravest would have met in the championship game had it not been rained out. Saturday's game will also determine the winner of the summertime tournament.

While both teams take the game seriously, neither loses sight of the real purpose of the game.

"This games gives everyone -- us, the families and the public -- a chance to memorialize our co-workers and offer our respect," Diaz said.

He said this game was a good chance for the families of fallen officers to reconnect with their relative's roots in a positive light. With four police officer deaths and two firemen in the past year, this Saturday's game will be especially poignant for the players and the fans.

The game, which is sponsored by All Terrain, Gold Coast Wellness, KISS-FM and Chevrolet, starts at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Families of fallen officers will throw out the ceremonial first pitches and their will be a helicopter fly-over.

Tickets can be purchase at this site for $5 or for $10 at the gate.

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