SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Comic-Con of sorts for baseball enthusiasts, one of the major events tied into the All-Star Game, opened Friday at the San Diego Convention Center.
The five-day MLB FanFest will feature appearances by numerous former players who will offer instruction and take part in question-and-answer sessions, along with hands-on activities like home run derbies, batting cages and opportunities to throw pitches and steal bases.
The player lineup for today includes popular former Padres like Trevor Hoffman, Dave Winfield, Kurt Bevacqua, Randy Jones, Steve Garvey, Chris Gomez, Juan Eichelberger, Bobby Jones and Archi Cianfrocco. Hall of Fame slugger Orlando Cepeda was also scheduled to make an appearance today.
"We're just inviting people from all over the world to converge on San Diego," Winfield told media. "It's a tremendous day."
The roster for upcoming days is a veritable who's who of stars dating back to the 1970s and Padre fan favorites. Among them are Fred Lynn, Dave Dravecky, Rollie Fingers, Jesse Orosco, Kevin Mitchell, Luis Tiant, Mark Loretta, Chris Gwynn, Garry Templeton, Steve Finley and David Wells.
Also set to show up are Heath Bell, Gaylord Perry, Damian Jackson, Andy Ashby, Ferguson Jenkins, Greg Vaughn, Scott Linebrink, Gary Sheffield, Dale Murphy, Tony Oliva, Benito Santiago, Tony Gwynn Jr., Ferguson Jenkins, Brian Giles, Sterling Hitchcock, Bert Campaneris, Fred McGriff, Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, Vladimir Guerrero, Ryan Klesko, Chris Cannizzaro, Terry Kennedy and Randy Ready.
Appearances are also scheduled by softball stars Lisa Fernandez and Jennie Finch, and Vera Clemente, widow of Roberto Clemente.
Artifacts from the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum will be available for viewing, organizers said.
The FanFest will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday through Monday, and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets cost $35 for adults, $30 for seniors 65- plus, college students and children up to 12 years old, $12 for military and $25 for groups of 25 or more. Admittance is free for children under 2 years old.
A sold-out concert series connected to the All-Star Game that features name acts is scheduled to begin tonight at Embarcadero Marina Park South. The first night's program includes OneRepublic and NEEDTOBREATHE, beginning at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, Tori Kelly and All Time Low will perform in a noon show, while headliner Gwen Stefani will take the stage with Eve at 7 p.m.