When I was a kid, I only went to a game or two a year, but those Padres games are some of my fondest childhood memories. For my 12th birthday, my dad pulled some strings and I got to be the honorary bat boy for a game. I got a shirt, I was part of the pregame ceremonies, and my friend and I got to hang out on the field during batting practice. I brought a baseball hoping to get some signatures, and the first player to sign my baseball was future hall-of-famer Rickey Henderson. I remember him being really nice. In fact, when he noticed my friend didn't have a baseball for him to sign, he grabbed one from the dugout, signed it, and gave it to my friend. I still have that baseball, but unfortunately, I also got it signed by a hot young prospect named Ruben Rivera, so now it's essentially worthless.
It has been a rough couple of years for a lifelong Padres fan. From the game 163 debacle to the 22 inning heartbreak to the Moores divorce and subsequent team cash flow problems, it has been hard to watch. It was tough when our long-time closer (and probably the second-most beloved Padre of all time) walked away because the front office pulled back their offer to him. It sucked that we had to trade our homegrown Cy Young Award-winning ace for peanuts because the team had no money and absolutely no leverage. (Side note: new nickname for Clayton Richard = peanut? Just a thought...) If Adrian Gonzalez gets traded this year, it will be sad, but I really think it is the right move for the improvement of this franchise in the long run. As a fan for life, I'm more interested in the long run success of this team than in one popular player now.
So, being a Padres fan has been tough the last couple of years, but I really believe that the organization is making the right moves for the future success of this program. As the young players we have mature and develop, this team will win more games, get the butts back in the seats, and then have more money to invest back into the payroll. I was a Padres fan in '93 and '94... I was a Padres fan in '02 and '03... I'm sure as hell going to be a Padres fan now.