The Last Weekend at the "Q"

Last weekend marked the end of a 35-year run for the "Q", and the Padres closed it out with three days of fun-filled festivities. Despite the fact that the Padres have not always had a winning team, and even though the stadium has gone through a few name changes and a couple of face-lifts, Qualcomm Stadium still holds many memories to share with the fans.

The weekend started off Friday night with the famous San Diego Chicken making his long awaited return. He lived up to the all hype by keeping the crowd laughing throughout the night and pulled off some new and classic performances. After leading his mini chickens on the field and having them wave their hands at the Colorado Rockies dugout, the Chicken preceded to beat up on a man pretending to be a Rockies player.

The Chicken has made his living by performing on the field, and he continued that tradition by performing some of his best stunts where everyone could see. Along with the Chicken performing his zany antics, all 45,558 fans in attendance received bobble head dolls featuring none other than the Chicken himself.

The Padres concluded the evening with a 5-0 victory over the Rockies that featured Adam Eaton picking up his 9th win of the year while going 7 innings and allowing no earned runs.

Saturday marked the last night game ever at Qualcomm, and it also began the buildup for downtown by giving away Petco Park hats. The night started off unpleasantly for the Padres as they fell behind 8-2 in the sixth inning, but most of the 42,479 fans stuck around to see the lights turned off for the last time at Qualcomm Stadium.

After the Rockies completed their destruction of the Padres, it was time for the post-game activities to begin. With help from Padres CEO John Moores and former Padres closer "Goose" Gossage, Qualcomm Stadium had its lights turned off for the last time at a baseball game. After the lights out ceremony, many former and present Padre heroes took the field to relive some of the fine memories they brought to San Diego. Concluding the last baseball night in San Diego was the announcement of the Padres all-time team that was voted on by the fans. Some of the participating members who jogged to home plate while passing through several blasts of fireworks were: Ken Caminiti, Randy Jones, Trevor Hoffman, Dave Winfield, and Tony Gwynn.

It was an enchanting moment for the crowd to see all of the Padre greats, and the players seemed to be just as excited standing next to past and present stars.

Sunday marked the last game ever at Qualcomm Stadium, and the Padres closed it out by bringing back some of their most memorable players. After losing the game 10-8 to the Rockies, a crowd of over 60,000 cheered as many Padre favorites jogged on to the field followed by the 2003 Padre club.

The closing ceremonies started off by San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy delivering home plate to Petco Park courtesy of a police escort through Mission Valley.

Perhaps the biggest reaction from the crowd came when former National League MVP Ken Caminiti jogged out to his old position at third base with his white pinstripe jersey and a pair of blue jean pants. After having many legal troubles and fighting through some tough times, Caminiti was welcomed back to San Diego with a standing ovation in an emotional return.

The most touching spot of the night however, came when Phil Nevin and Gary Matthews Jr. brought out the son of late Padre Mike Darr to take his fathers' spot in the outfield.

After Hell's Bells brought Trevor Hoffman to the mound, Tony Gwynn shut down Qualcomm Stadium with the final pitch caught by Padres manager, Bruce Bochy. It was only fitting that Gwynn close out Qualcomm Stadium, as Mr. Padre spent 20 of the club's 35 years playing in a Padre uniform.

Matt Johnson can be reached at

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