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Padres and fans pay tribute to Gwynn in first home game since his passing

Last night the Padres played their first home game since losing Tony Gwynn. It was an emotional and touching night as fans flocked to Petco Park to pay respects and the Padres organization held a pregame tribute to honor Gwynn.

Luke Yoder and company did a spectacular job making the field ready. A number 19 was mowed into the grass in right field and the 19 home plate logo was added in front of home plate. That same 19 home plate logo also adorned the Padres batting practice hats, which they continued to wear beyond batting practice and during the game last night (after being approved by MLB), as well as in a patch on the Padres' jerseys, which they will keep wearing through the rest of the season. During batting practice and before the game, Tony Gwynn highlight videos and Gwynn's Hall of Fame induction speech were shown on the big screen. More highlight videos from throughout his career were also shown during the night in between innings.

The San Diego State baseball team gathered on the mound as Gwynn's assistant head coach Mark Martinez threw out the first pitch. I thought this was a truly wonderful way to have Gwynn's other baseball love, the Aztecs, involved in the tribute. Fittingly, fellow Aztec for Life Buddy Black was there to catch the first pitch.

A special video tribute was played and the Padres players and coaching staff all gathered around the 19 in right field. The stadium then observed a 19second moment of silence. You can watch a compressed version of the pregame ceremonies here:

The pregame ceremonies were all narrated by former Padres PA announcer Bruce Binkowski.

This definitely won't be the last of the tributes we see for Mr. Padre at Petco Park this season. A memorial ceremony is planned for next Thursday (a Padres off day), the details of which jbox described here.

Thanks to the Padres for putting together such a beautiful and fitting ceremony last night. Losing Tony has been incredibly difficult, but it's made easier when we can all come together as a community and celebrate his life like this.