I was born in 1980 so, technically, I was around for the 1984 World Series Padres team. Except I was 3 when it happened. And living in Virginia. It was in 1984 that I was moved (Because, at 3, you don't move. You are moved) to Oceanside. Life as a military family.
To borrow a phrase from Gaslamp Ball, I've been cognitively aware of the Padres since about 1987, if I had to put a year on it. I'm sure I was a "fan," for whatever that means to someone under the age of 10, but when I really search my memory it is 1987 that comes to mind. I have no idea why. But for the purposes of this post, let's use that year as a starting point.
In that time frame I've witnessed some extraordinary highs:
Benito Santiage Wins Rookie of the Year - 1987
Mark Davis Won a Cy Young - 1988
Tony Gwynn Won Batting Title on Final Day vs Will Clark - 1989
Tony Gwynn Chases .400 - 1994
The 1996 Season, including an MVP for Caminiti, Batting Title for Gwynn, and a sweep of the Dodgers on the final day to win the NL West. - 1996
Going to the World Series - 1998 (also includes my first MLB playoff game in person)
Division Championships in '05 and '06 - 2005; 2006
Jake Peavy's Cy Young - 2007
Trevor Hoffman's 500th Save - 2007
Trevor Hoffman's Number Retired - 2011
But boy, there have been some dark, dark times. The 1994 MLB Strike, the fire sale in which Gary Sheffield, Fred McGrief, Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar all left within a year's time, Game 163, the 1998 World Series, Ken Caminiti's steroid abuse and subsequent death, the Adrian Gonzalez trade, and most damaging perhaps of all, the Moores divorce.
Tomorrow, the Padres officially welcome in their new ownership group. A group that has spent $800 million to be the 6th different owner in the franchise history. No one today can say whether this will be looked back as the dawning of the most successful years in Padres history, a colossal failure, or something in between.
But that's the cool thing about fresh starts. Anything is possible. There is a world of possibility. For a fan base that has endured only 16 at or above .500 seasons in their history, and has only won 1 total game won in World Series play, new owners, with new pocketbooks, bring with them the possibility that better days are ahead.