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.
Just stopped by the Gwynn statue. There's a hushed tone in the ballpark tonight. pic.twitter.com/ivaXv500qf— Gaslamp Ball (@gaslampball) June 19, 2014
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.
Almost ready. pic.twitter.com/9Nf190tFIn— Wayne Partello (@WaynePartello) June 19, 2014
Nice touch, adding 19 behind the plate. pic.twitter.com/5FTvHVf4UY— Jay Posner (@sdutPosner) June 19, 2014
Padres players asked MLB if they could wear the BP hats w/the 19 patch on them for tonight's game. It was approved.— Jesse Agler (@jesseagler) June 19, 2014
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.
Video- Padres pay tribute to the great Tony Gwynn https://t.co/rqZ0HIDdT1— Marty Caswell (@MartyCaswell) June 19, 2014
And a very nice touch having Bruce Binkowski narrate. Bink's the only appropriate voice to say "Tony Gwynn" over a public address system.— VM David (@VocalMinoritySD) June 19, 2014
After beautiful video tribute, Padres gather around 19 in RF for 19-second moment of silence and national anthem. pic.twitter.com/or6YZynT1i— Jay Posner (@sdutPosner) June 19, 2014
Fans continue to pay tribute to Mr. Padre tonight pic.twitter.com/sJgn48zrc5— Kris Budden (@KrisBudden) June 19, 2014
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.