The San Diego Padres are returning home to Petco Park for the first time since the franchise's greatest player, Tony Gwynn, died on Monday at the age of 54.
It will undoubtedly be an emotional night as the city Gwynn called home, even after his MLB playing days were over, and the Padres franchise come together to mourn, reflect, share memories and ultimately celebrate Gwynn's life and his amazing 20-year career, which was spent entirely with the Padres.
It will be Tony's night, as it should be, and we're already seeing a glimpse of what the Padres have in store for their tribute. According to media already gathered, the grass in right field, where Gwynn roamed for many of those special years, will belong to him again.
Petco Park, RF, ready for tonight's game. pic.twitter.com/FrKRZ9FFn2
— Scott Miller (@ScottMillerBbl) June 18, 2014
Although Gwynn never played right field at Petco Park, the fact that the ballpark sits at 19 Gwynn Drive says all you need to know about the impact he made on the city and on the franchise's outlook during his playing days. His displayed number acknowledges his impact and symbolizes that right field for the San Diego Padres, regardless of who's in the lineup or which stadium they're playing in, will always belong to Tony Gwynn.
That's about as cool as it gets. But that wasn't all for the Gwynn tribute prior to gametime. As Big League Stew's David Brown noted earlier, Gwynn's No. 19 was also on full display in San Diego Bay on Wednesday afternoon thanks to Capt. Troy Sears of Next Level Sailing.
It's never easy to say goodbye, but the city of San Diego is rising up and coming together under incredibly difficult circumstances to give its hero a proper send-off.
So sad. Padres fans gathering. RIP No.19 pic.twitter.com/zUgCjDPff5
— Batting Stance Guy (@BattingStanceG) June 18, 2014
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