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The Greatest World Series Game Never Played

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I'd figured I'd take a break from the usual lists to tell a quick story about the only World Series game I ever had the chance to attend. It's a pretty well known game because it didn't end being played as scheduled and it was 18 years ago today. It was Tuesday, October 17th, 1989 as the Oakland A's were to play the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 of their Bay Bridge World Series at Candlestick Park.

 

My Dad had bought tickets from Game 3 and 4 at Candlestick and he was going to take me to Game 3 and my brother to Game 4. Now you might wonder why as A's fans we'd have tickets to games in San Francisco and not Oakland but then you'd have to realize what a dump Candlestick Park was/is. The Oakland Coliseum today is thought of as one the worst ballparks around but at the time it was still regarded as good park and might as well have been Candem Yards compared to Candlestick. The A's had a larger season ticket base than the Giants at the time and with having the much nicer stadium the four games scheduled for Oakland were gone in an instant. Of course the games for Candlestick were gone quickly as well but there was actually people willing to give up those tickets for the right price unlike the games at the Coliseum. If I remember right I believe my Dad was able to buy our tickets off someone from he knew at work at $50 a piece in the nosebleed section. I don't think my Dad let me actually know how bad the seats really were but in the end would just be happy to be going to a World Series game especially with the A's out to a 2-0 series lead.

 

My memories of the day are pretty sketchy. I remember my Dad had bought a World Series program for me before hand for me to read on the way to the game. With the early 5:15 start time start time to get the game in east coast primetime we only got there probably about 20 minutes before the first pitch. Since we were so close to the game starting we decided to grab food before we got to the seats since there was no way I'd leave my seat during the game. Just as we got on line for food the stadium started shaking. We were on a concession line that was below the upper deck of the stadium and I remember just looking up as I guess that was my natural instinct was to see if anything was gonna fall. My Dad grabbed and rushed me to the little overhang by the concessions. Just a hunch if the stadium actually collapsed we'd be dead but if we actually survived what a better place to be trapped than by the food? For those of us who were not in their seats there wasn't even 100% certainty that it was earthquake or if the fans shook stadium. I remember right after the stadium stoppedd shaking a loud roar went up in the stadium and I heard a Giants fan near by yell "that's how you start a fucking game!" It was definately felt like a big earhtquake but it went by so quick and everything pretty much seemed fine. I was scared shitless but at least I was still going to see a World Series game.

 

Our seats were out towards rightfield and when we got to them I could see the leftfield foul pole was still shaking. I looked straight down the rightfield foul pole but one problem, you couldn't see rightfield at all from the angle of our seats and god damn did the field look far away. But again at least I was going to see a World Series game, if not really see the whole game itself with our view. Everyone seemed to think the game would be played although clearly delayed at that point. I can't remember at what time they called the game but shortly before that the gravity of the situation hit us when someone with a radio near by said this:

 

"The Bay Bridge collapsed."

 

That's a shit your pants moment right there. The image that went through my head was that the bridge went into the fucking water. What about the other bridges? How do we get home? As it turned out it was just a single portion of the upper deck of the bridge that collapse but at this point there was obvoiously going to be no baseball played that night. The rest of the night is a complete blur. I think my 11 year old brain had exploded that night and I was just worried about us getting home, although part of me was also excited by the prospect I might not have to school the next day. Although the Bay Bridge was the only bridge with major damage, all bridges were closed so we had to head south towards Santa Clara and go around the Bay to get home. This would normally be about a 40 minute drive but with so many people either trying to get home or get out of the city this turned into about a four hour trip just to get to the South Bay. Another problem that night was that because of the quake a lot of gas stations closed and we ended running out of gas in Santa Clara by the Great America theme park. On fumes my Dad got us into a hotel parking lot but as you can imagine that night all hotels were booked up. It was a very large hotel with a huge lobby and they were allowing people to come in without a room and sleep in the lobby which it appeared we'd end up doing. But my Dad was able to buy some gas from a gardner at the hotel from a lawnmower and enough to fill up to find an open gas station and get home. So about seven hours after the earthquake we were finally home. And I had to go to school. Fuck.

 

So at the start of this I mentioned that this would be about the only chance I had to go to a World Series game. Of course everyone the series resumed 10 days later but I didn't go. Why? Becuase I was a big fucking pussy. Okay I guess in reality i was just a scared kid who was going through some post traumatic shit but on the other hand I was just a pussy, who also watched way too much of the post-earthquake news coverage. I'm one of those people who will watch non-stop disaster news coverage. I remember for weeks after 9/11 watching the footage of the planes going into the WTC over and over and over and over again no matter how tough it was to watch. Every 9/11 when that footage starts getting replayed on t.v. again I always end up watching it. Back in '89 after the earthquake I just kept watching the news coverage of the earthquake and the home video footage shot in the immediate aftermath of the quake. This

in particular of a car falling down the collapsed portion of the bridge was played non-stop and I ended up just scaring myself into not going to the next game. To this day I'm actually not scared of earthquakes at all but I was then. So I regret that I've never had another chance since to go to a World Series game but I suppose also I should be happy the earthquake didn't last longer or otherwise I might have been a Candlestick Park sandwich.
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I have only been to one WS game myself. Game 1 of the 1990 series. It's my only actual playoff game, not counting the 1999 wild card playoff in the freezing cold just to see the Reds shut out.

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I had been saving up this year for a possible trip to a world series game depending on where the Saturday game was played. Colorado was one of the best options so I was excited that the Rockies had a good chance...and then I blew up my engine and all that money goes bye bye. So being in the stadium of the cancelled game is still closer then I'll get.

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He did give up the tickets which I think my brother has hated me for to this day as if I had gone to Game 3 when the series resumed he would have gone to Game 4 and saw the A's win the series.

 

I had tickets to Game 1 of last year's World Series if the A's had advanced but those became worthless pretty quick thanks to the Tigers.

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