Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquake rattles Phillies ballpark, remembering the 1989 World Series

Live coverage just after the 1989 World Series earthquake in San Francisco, CA

I can never remember a time that the Phillies organization had to inspect a Phillies stadium for an examination for earthquake damage. No, not even when Ryan Howard is blasting home runs out of the ball park like a howitzer did the Phillies have to worry about any seismic activity, but today at 1:50 PM on August 23, 2011 there was a significant earthquake that rattled the tri-state area including Philadelphia and cities like New York and Pittsburgh, and Toronto. The Phillies game was just over five hours from starting when the rattling started.

The feeling was unmistakable, the vibrating ground and swaying objects were violent enough to send workers scrambling out of buildings in the area and even the ballpark at Citizen's Bank Park was evacuated for the safety of those inside. The epicenter of the earthquake was a few hundred miles away in Virginia, but it certainly didn't feel that way in the Philly tri-state area.

The baseball world remembers the 1989 World Series earthquake that caused havoc in the area around San Francisco, as the Giants and the Oakland A's were getting ready play Game 3, and at 5:05 PM Pacific time the earth shook violently and stopped the game from it's 5:35 PM Pacific time scheduled start. More than 62,000 fans were in Candlestick Park for the start of the game, there were no injuries at the stadium. Broadcasters either stood at their posts or completely abandoned them as told in this entry in wikipedia:

 The ABC Sports team remained in their broadcast booth and appeared composed once a backup generator restored power. By contrast, the broadcasting team in the CBS Radio booth next door, consisting of Jack BuckJohnny Bench, and John Rooney, ran out as soon as the earthquake started. Bench ran to a spot underneath a steel grate, to which Buck quipped, "If you would have moved that fast when you played, you wouldn't have hit into so many double plays." The ESPN live coverage of the Series (ESPN and ABC at the time produced separate broadcasts) was interrupted during then-television analyst Joe Torre's pre-game report on the field. Their equipment van was the only one with a generator, and they continued their live coverage with Chris Berman and Bob Ley. Separately from the broadcast, Peter Gammons and Oakland Athletics pitcher Bob Welch were walking by Marina Middle School in order to get a residency pass when they spotted a slightly unshaven man with a white wind-breaker waiting in line for his pass, who turned out to be Joe DiMaggio, who was concerned over the status of his sister, Louise. Gammons shared this story during a 1999 SportsCenter Flashback special chronicling the 1989 World Series.

The Game 3 of the 1989 World Series was delayed for 5 days, and then another 5 days for the restoration of links for television broadcasting. It was a World Series like no other and Oakland ended up shutting out the Giants by a 4-0 series.

On this night in 2011, it was the Phillies team beating the Mets in our 'Earthquake Game' - the day Philly shook. The Phillies were the winners tonight by a score of 9-4, I think a lot of us will remember this day in the area that felt the quake and maybe even the game between the Phillies and the Mets, there was more than anticipation in the air for sure.

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