The calendar says it began in 1969. It didn't.
It took the Padres all of 50 years to grow out of pubescence into a true Major League Baseball franchise.
It took Manny Machado to push the organization away from the children's table and into the drawing room for brandy and cigars.
The fuse had gone out. He re-lit it. It may not reach the explosive for a while, but it's burning.
Welcome to the big leagues. There have been a few moments of success, but they were dust in the wind. This finally is their inning, their turn at-bat.
Which is why I make, all things considered – the time, the place, the vacant, dilapidated state of sports in the city – the $300 million invested to bring the third baseman here the most important free-agent signing in the history of San Diego sports.
There haven't been many – and there weren't any major FAs doing remarkable things with the NFL and NBA teams that used to be here.
There was Steve Garvey, whose famous home run helped the Pads beat the Cubs and head to the 1984 Series only to get Motowned.
No question Steve played a major hand in all that, but as much as I like(d) Garvey, his number should not be retired here. You need more than one swing to get your jersey put away.
There was pitcher Kevin Brown in 1998. The Padres weren't getting to the World Series in 1998 without Brown, a monster, but he was a one-year rental.
The Machado signing, though, was of hurricane force, so much more important, his coming to a sports city that recently had its NFL cut off.
He's signed up for 10 years, and while the Padres never may win a title while he's here, Machado not only at least brings hope, but a sea change in our attitude because of his. I can feel it. I see it on Unsocial Media.
There's a don't-mess-with-us thing that comes with Mannyball. We've got Dodgers fans yelling at us now, and there never really has been a rivalry – we can't stand them and they usually don't give a damn about us.
As Padres general partner Peter Seidler told me the other day: "The Dodgers know where we are – they all know where we are now."
And if they hadn't signed Machado? They might be entertaining, but 120 miles north of here and nationally, they would be the little team with a lovely ballpark not that far from the world famous Zoo.
"I always knew that, if we stick to our knitting, San Diego is a baseball town," Seidler says. "And I knew we were going to completely reverse what's happened with this franchise."
Thanks to multiple layers of fear, loathing and ineptitude by our political Ham & Eggers and hash-slinging Fredo Spanos & Sons, San Diegans seemed tired with the whole sporting scene – and worse, apathetic.
Machado snapped us out of it.
Part of it was the suddenness of it all, the unexpected. Seidler, Ron Fowler & Co. had spent good money – some of it wasted – on players. And while there had been rumors they had their lines in Machado's waters, it was hard to expect a nibble.
Plus, word was Manny wanted to play shortstop, not third base, and General Manager A.J. Preller had sensational matinee idol Fernando Tatis Jr. ready for that.
"A.J. told Manny, "I know you want to play shortstop, but we have a shortstop coming up,' " Seidler says. "And Manny said, "I'll play third for the next 10 years.'
"Manny's happy. He's great in the clubhouse; the fans love him and he's fit in well. There are places some athletes are destined to be, and Manny's place is San Diego."
Manny just turned 27, which in Baseballville means he's just approaching his prime. Hard to say if he's going to be worth all that money in 2028, but he is now. The Padres aren't starving. They're so much more exciting to watch and attendance is up.
Manny and Tatis make for one of the more watchable left sides of an infield in my lifetime. There has been nothing like it here, although I always enjoyed, while it lasted, the left side of Garry Templeton and Graig Nettles.
In L.A. over the weekend, Machado told a fan the Padres would win a World Series before the Dodgers do.
Given that the Dodgers have spent billions without Series success since 1988, he may be right, no matter how good they are – and they're very good now – from March through September.
But it's more than rings. Manny isn't winning titles all alone. As miracles go, he brings some loaves and fishes, but not enough to feed the masses.
What he did was bring some light into our darkest sporting hour.
He's not going to completely illuminate the room Fredo dimmed with the flip of a greedy switch.
But what he has brought cannot be underestimated.
And that is, perchance – perchance – to dream again.