When Tuesday's major earthquake here postponed the World Series, and forced its relocation from Candlestick Park, it created an unusual set of circumstances not only for the fans, but for the players and coaches as well.
Immediately after the game was canceled, members of both the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's were faced with dark Candlestick Park locker rooms and no hot water for showers. Not that most of them were looking to linger under the stadium, or its showers, anyway.Many went directly in their uniforms to the parking lot just outside the locker room door, some still wearing their cleats.
There, they were bombarded by the media.
Strange as it sounds, this was true. Force of habit, probably. But the hundreds of writers covering the World Series descended on the players as they ascended from the stadium, and asked them for, well, for quotes.
"Where were you when it hit?"
"What were your thoughts?"
The players, of course, had no more insight into this line of questioning than anyone else leaving the park. But they were dutifully quoted just the same, as if they were talking about a hit-and-run or a double play.
"Well, I was standing in the dugout."
"My first thought was to get the heck outta there."
There were a few jokes. Don Robinson, who was supposed to be San Francisco's starting pitcher, wondered if he'd get credit for a shutout. An A's player said the episode gave new meaning to "World Series jitters." A San Francisco player wondered if the Giants could count this as a forfeit.
Along with several thousand of their fans, The A's had a problem getting back to Oakland. The Bay Bridge, the main link to the Oakland side of the Bay, was damaged and closed.
The A's had taken a boat to the game - docking at Pier 90, near Candlestick Park. But now the boat didn't seem like such a good idea for a return trip.
They settled on a long bus ride through San Jose and then back up the East Bay.
The only problem in totally evacuating the stadium was with several diehard fans, who stayed in their seats and chanted "Play ball, play ball," long after the A's bus had pulled into the traffic jam, and longer still after Giants manager Roger Craig had piled his family into the back of his 4X4 pickup truck and left the arena, the first of the participants to do so.
There were no police escorts or special treatment for the players or coaches, or other baseball dignitaries. When Willie Mays, for instance, swung his Mercedes out of the VIP parking lot, he was on his own, going nowhere fast, like everyone else.
The police had enough to do. They had a crowd to control. Many of the policemen mounted horses for the occasion.
One SFPD officer, Barry Cooper, stood guard outside the locker room entrance atop his police horse, Caesar. He said Caesar had displayed no skittishness either before the earthquake, or during it, even though it's believed animals are supposed to have a sixth sense about such things.
"Actually, he took it all quite well," said Cooper. "Better than we did, I'd say."
"Caesar's more afraid of the buses."
The irony of the situation was that going into Game 3 - the first World Series game to be played in San Francisco since 1962 - Candlestick Park had looked so benign and peaceful. This was in contradiction of its unpredictable reputation as a baseball facility - of having weird, multi-directional winds and bizarre, always-changing weather.
Over the years, people have called Candlestick haunted, or at the least moody. But on the eve of its 1989 World Series debut it looked cooperative and completely harmless.
Then came the earthquake. Now, Candlestick isn't likely to host a game in this World Series, and perhaps not in any others, either.
Many San Franciscans, led by mayor Art Agnos, are pushing for a new baseball park, closer to downtown. Candlestick would be left as a football stadium only. Still, there's no denying it left its mark on baseball. It went on the disabled list, and in the middle of the World Series at that.
Utes waiting for news
Officials at Stanford were busy having their football stadium inspected for damage Wednesday, and it was still uncertain whether Stanford and Utah will play Saturday. U. Athletic Director Chris Hill said a decision would be reached later. "Their first impression was apparently that the stadium did not look bad," he said.