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Padres host Mets for eighth homestand

The Padres return from the All-Star Break Friday for a weekend series against the New York Mets. Highlights of the three-game homestand include a camouflage Andrew Cashner replica jersey giveaway presented by Toyota and Salute to Veterans presented by Bank of America, including the Ceremonial First Pitch by 105-year-old Oceanside resident Agnes McKee.

Home action begins tonight, with a 7:10 p.m. start against the Mets. Before the game, NASA Astronaut Rex Walheim will throw the Ceremonial First Pitch. Walheim and fellow astronauts will be in San Diego with NASA's Driven to Explore mobile exhibit, a multi-media experience that immerses visitors in the story of NASA and the International Space Station Program. The exhibit will be on display at Park at the Park from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. tonight.

Also prior to the game, the Padres will honor the third recipient of the 2014 Hispanic Heritage Comunidad Awards. The Hispanic Heritage Comunidad Awards recognize and pay tribute to individuals or organizations making a positive impact on San Diego's Hispanic community. Ricardo Lopez, a teacher at Mueller Charter School, has been selected by the Padres' Hispanic Community Advisory Council (HCAC) to receive the award for his dedication to improving the lives of families and youth, specifically in the area of youth fitness (PLAY).

Lopez teaches fourth and fifth graders at Mueller Charter School, where 50 percent of students are English language-learners. Known as the "go-to" teacher for sports and physical activity, Lopez developed a partnership with the Copley Family YMCA for students to participate in their soccer and football programs. He also developed a partnership with Parkway Pool in Chula Vista for his students to receive free weekly swimming lessons.

In addition, Lopez has coached the school's football and soccer teams, sometimes using his own money to purchase sports equipment for the teams. A participant in Big Brothers Big Sisters "Sports Bigs" program for six years, Lopez has helped raise thousands of dollars for the program.

In support of the Padres Foundation's community vision, four awards will be given throughout the year, one each in the areas of children's health (LIVE), children's education (LEARN), youth baseball/ softball or youth fitness (PLAY) and supporting our law enforcement and military communities (SERVE). Earlier this season, 13-year-old Jose Montaño became the first recipient to be honored posthumously, in the area of children's health (LIVE), while La Maestra Health Clinic and Foundation received the award in the area of children's education (LEARN). To submit a nomination for remaining awards, visit www.padres.com/community or www.padresbeisbol.com/comunidad.

Saturday is "Baseball Night in San Diego." All fans in attendance on Saturday will receive a camouflage Andrew Cashner replica jersey presented by Toyota.

Prior to Saturday's game, the Padres will celebrate African American Heritage Night at Petco Park, with a special recognition of former Negro League players Neale "BoBo" Henderson and Walter McCoy. The pregame ceremony will pay tribute to the Negro Leagues and these living legends.

The homestand wraps up on Sunday with a Salute to Veterans presented by Bank of America. All fans in attendance will receive a mini American flag presented by Bank of America. Twenty-two recipients of the Distinguished Flying Cross will be recognized on the field. The medal is awarded for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight and is the nation's highest aviation award. One of the recipients set to be recognized is a World War II veteran who was part of the late Jerry Coleman's squadron.

Master Chief Petty Officer Cynthia Baker, a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Navy with 11 deployments under her belt, will sing the National Anthem, while the Chula Vista chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars presents the colors. Tossing the Ceremonial First Pitch will be 105-year-old Oceanside resident Agnes McKee, whose late husband was a Navy Seabee during World War II. McKee served over 50 years in the VFW and American Legion Auxiliaries. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Abe Thompson will sing God Bless America in middle of the 7th inning. 

Prior to all Sunday home games, from 11:30 a.m. to noon, two Padres players will sign autographs at the Park at the Park for Jr. Padres Sunday Signings. A Jr. Padres membership is required to participate in the signing event. Membership is free, and kids can sign up online or in-person on the day of the event.

KidsFest at the Park returns Sunday, featuring bounce houses and other inflatables, games, face painters, balloon artists, and more kid-friendly activities.

Tickets for all home games can be purchased at the Petco Park box office, online at www.padres.com, by phone at 619.795.5555, at the Padres Store in Tijuana, and at all Ticketmaster locations.

Homestand No. 8 at a Glance

Padres vs. Mets - Fri, July 18, 7:10 p.m.

  • Pregame: Comunidad Award Winner #3
  • Ceremonial First Pitch: NASA Astronaut Rex Walheim

Padres vs. Mets - Sat, July 19, 5:40 p.m.

  • Giveaway: Camo Cashner Replica Jersey (Toyota)
  • Pregame: African American Heritage Night

Padres vs. Mets - Sun, July 20, 1:10 p.m.

  • Salute to Veterans (Bank of America)
  • Giveaway: Mini American Flags (Bank of America)
  • Ceremonial First Pitch: 105-year-old Agnes McKee
  • Jr. Padres Sunday Signings
  • KidsFest at the Park
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