I saw this post from Jodes last night and thought about what I could say. I have so many fond (and awful) memories of the Padres, I couldn't choose just one moment. Also, after reading EvilSammys' post about his Dirty Little Secret post, I know exactly why I am a Padres' fan.
Back in 2000, I was just entering my 20's and in college (up in UCI) and still coming to terms with us being in the World Series in '98 to the cellar in '99. I was still preaching to my family and friends that the Pads would somehow come around, although it was somewhat delusional. Then, during the off season of 2000, my world was crushed. My mom was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer and was not given much hope to recover.
I remember being a mess at school and worrying about my mom's health. I would shuttle up to school to take my classes and drive back down to San Diego on a daily basis to help out at home. Not sure if anyone else has gone through anything like this, but it is exhausting mentally and emotionally. Luckily, baseball season was just starting up and I had the Padres to get my mind off of the nightmare each night (if only for a few hours). I remember my mom going for her naps whenever the Padres' games were on, so that I could have a break for a few hours. That team, which was pretty fun offensively with Klesko and Nevin, was not very good, but at least I could get lost in a game and leave reality. The Padres helped me through a lot of my own grief and sorrow, which I will forever be grateful for.
Fortunately, my mom was a fighter and lived another eight years battling cancer. I will always remember her cheering the Padres on, although she had no idea what was going on during a game, because she knew how much they meant to me. I think she also knew that they, the team, was able to help me stay motivated each day to go to school and to help out at home.
I wish I was able to come up with something more baseball related, but I do feel that baseball and the Padres saved me from some darker areas of my soul. No matter how bad the Padres have been, I will always cheer for San Diego - they are my home and they are my team.
Oh, one last thing. I was able to go to the Q here and there during my mom's rest and I bumped into Sterling Hitchcock during warm-ups. He signed a card for me and was a class act. Pretty cool stuff.