Friday, October 23, 2009

20th Anniversary of the 1989 Quake

I know I missed it by a week, but I've been busy with work. It was 20 years ago, on October 17th , 1989 at 5:04 pm, that one of the most devastating earthquakes ever to hit the Bay Area interrupted the 1989 Bay Area World Series.

Below is what I posted on MCC:

I was in the upper deck, 3rd base side, nose-bleed seats with my brother

My regular seats were down in the lower section, section 9 (I think), middle of that area, 1st base side, so that I could just zoom straight on a line to my car when the game ends, where I parked near the gate so that I wouldn't have to wait for a million cars to cut in ahead of me trying to get out. But since I was just a partial season ticket-holder, I guess that got me pushed above to the upper deck. Thank goodness, I am not sure what my thoughts and actions would have been had I been underneath.

I think the World Series game saved the lives of the many who normally would have been in the freeway sections that collapsed in Oakland. As someone who took that route many a time at that time, it was normally a parking lot at that time of day. It was relatively sparse that day, I guess due to people either leaving early for the game or leaving early to avoid the traffic.

And that's what I did, I took the day off so that I could relax and leave early for the game. I was excited, had my new handheld TV tuned in, sitting next to my brother, who was not a sports fan in any sense possible, but who knew the significance of the game (Bay Area World Series) so he took up my offer to go to a historic event. Little did he know how historic. I was just being nice in offering, because I love my brother, but I never thought in a googol-plex years that he would accept due to his absolute total lack of interest in sports.

Since we got there early to avoid the traffic, we were up there for a while, tuned into the TV broadcast and talking. Not a lot of people were in the stadium yet, at least not in my memory, or maybe it was just that upper upper section (we were basically near the lip of the stadium). I don't remember there being that many people around me.

I remember when it hit. First, you're wondering "what the hell?", then you're wondering "what the f*ck!". I had been through a number quakes before, my first about 10 years prior, but this one just shook and shook, longer than any I had felt before. At one point, I saw one of the light fixtures break off and fall a bit above our heads, but still secure. When it stopped, I stood up and gave off a great yelp of excitement and relief.

Then the fear set in.

The broadcast of Al Michaels et al ended, but other news streamed in about the damage. People would come in from the parking lot and one man told us about how the ground liquified during the tremor and he saw a low sports car rise above the large van/truck next to it in the parking lot. Lots of death and destruction reported, and we had no way to check on our family or friends in the East Bay or SF.

We decided to stick around and not fight the traffic, so we just wandered around the stadium, seeing what others had to say or report, plus somehow it seemed better to be on the move than sitting there waiting. We learned of damage in parts of Candlestick and people would share when some news came up.

After many hours, we finally decided to leave and the freeways were relatively clear. We first hit my brother's girlfriend's family home and they reported no damage of any sort. We called home from there and found out that nothing happened to our family's home either.

Which I found utterly unfathomable, my mom and sister collected a lot of junk that was all over the place, and there were items that I would have bet would have fallen over and perhaps hurt someone.

Aside from some piles of stuff falling over, there was no visible effects of the quake at home, we were very lucky, very thankful.

1 comment:

  1. Which section were you in? My sister and I were in Sec. 18.

    ReplyDelete

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