A SILENCE. A stillness of the air. Deep in the Earth, the winds are bottled up in a cave. Everything is quiet, in fact everything is far too quiet. People get uncomfortable but they don't know why. "Earthquake weather," they say. And cross themselves, touch wood. Deep down in the Earth, way down where you can't see it, where you don't know where the dark things are, the pressures are building. The heat is building, the plates are shifting, grinding in opposite directions. America is moving toward Asia. Slow. It's slow but it's big. The rubber band has been stretched and stretched and all at once with no warning it snaps back and by God, it hurts. We're on the Ring of Fire, you know. No warning. Houses fall, people killed, fires burning. The only solid foundation has proved unreliable, and you can never really trust anything again. The Earth herself has shrugged and all her little inhabitants are made aware once again of what they may have forgotten: Mother Nature bats last.

February 17, 1994

Herodotus (born c. 490 BC) recounts that a stillness both precedes and creates earthquakes because the winds are bottled up in a cave.

"Mother Nature Bats Last." On October 17, 1989, at 5:04 PM as the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants prepared for game three of the World Series in San Francisco's Candlestick Park, the 7.1 "Loma Priéta" earthquake rocked the Bay Area. In addition to widespread fires and destruction, a section of the Bay Bridge and a 1.25-mile span of Oakland's elevated freeway system collapsed.

Though there were 65 quake-related deaths, the toll was much lower than it might have been because many people had left work early to watch the game on television, leaving the rush-hour roads only lightly traveled.

The Series resumed on Friday, October 27, and ended the next night with the Athletics sweeping 4-0 with a .312 average, 32 runs and 9 homers against the Giants' .209, 14 runs and 4 homers: a World Series record.


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