ST. PETERSBURG -- Paul C. Smith was honored in the press box of Tropicana Field prior to Monday's Opening Day contest between the Devil Rays and Blue Jays.

A plaque was affixed to the table in front of the seat where Smith sat during his years covering the Devil Rays for MLB.com. Smith passed away on Feb. 26 at the age of 46.

The plaque reads:

"Paul C. Smith 1957-2005

"On February 26, 2005, baseball lost a loyal ambassador with a never-ending love for the game ... journalism lost a respected writer and editor with a gentle hand ... and many of us in this press box lost a bench coach with great instincts. All of us ... lost a terrific friend with a big heart."

The seat where Smith sat will remain empty to honor him.

On hand for the ceremony were Smith's family, including wife Martha, and the couple's two children, Dale and Kelsey.

Devil Rays managing general partner Vince Naimoli presented the family with season tickets.

"All of us that worked with Paul won't forget him," said Rick Vaughn, Devil Rays vice president of public relations. "We want others that work here in the future to know about his contribution as well."