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Play ball! Tucson Padres home opener Friday

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Play ball! Tucson Padres home opener Friday

  • Kino Bambino, the Padres' mascot.
    courtesy Tucson PadresKino Bambino, the Padres' mascot.

The Tucson Padres will take on the Salt Lake City Bees as the new minor league team plays its home opener at Kino Stadium on Friday night.

The San Diego affiliate, now 3-5 in its inaugural season, will mark the return of Triple-A baseball to Tucson with festivities before the game's 7 p.m. first pitch.

Los Changuitos Feos will play mariachi, and the Sons of Orpheus male choir will perform the national anthem.

"We are so excited about opening night at Kino Stadium," Tucson Padres general manager Mike Feder said in a release. "This is the most exciting night in the brief history of the Tucson Padres, and we hope it provides a springboard to a fun-filled, historic summer."

The home opener will also honor those affected by the Jan. 8 mass shooting. Five people involved with the tragedy are set to toss out the ceremonial first pitch: Bill Badger and Roger Salzgeber, who tackled the accused shooter to the ground; Patricia Maisch and Joe Zamudio, who teamed up to contain Jared Lee Loughner after he was tackled; and Daniel Hernandez, the intern who helped save the life of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Staff members from University Medical Center, Northwest Fire Department, Pima County Sheriff's Department, Tucson police and fire departments, Oro Valley Police Department and the LifeNet Helicopter crew will also participate in pregame ceremonies.

"It is remarkable how much the Tucson community has come together in the months following this horrible tragedy," Feder said. "With a large crowd expected, we wanted to make sure these local heroes were honored."

During the game, the "Kids Bowl Free" bus will provide youth the chance for free bowling throughout the summer at Vantage lanes.

Entertainment continues throughout the entire weekend during the Padres' first homestand. On Saturday, there will be a fireworks show after the game, and the team will be breaking out their camouflage uniforms for Military Appreciation Day on Sunday.

Tickets for Padres' games are available online at, via phone at 434-1367, or in person at Kino Stadium.

Parking at Kino Stadium will be free on Friday for the opening game.

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