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World Series earthquake: Whole lotta shakin'

First off, I've got to give credit where credit is due. I wouldn't have remembered that today is the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake that killed 63 people in the San Francisco area and delayed the 1989 World Series unless Roch Kubatko had mentioned it yesterday during one of the history classes at the School of Roch.

Frankly, it's not often you get a history lesson over there. I once checked Roch's course catalog and almost every class was listed as Sex Education 101. Just signed up for a new seminar called "Speed Dating at the Arizona Fall League."

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World Series earthquake: Whole lotta shakin'

Anyway, Roch asked the "Where were you" question and I thought I would answer it here. I was in the upper deck at Candlestick Park when it seemed like the whole world had become the School of Rock. I was a native California guy covering the Fall Classic for the Orange County Register, so I pretty much knew what was going on, but you really couldn't tell how bad the quake was because the upper deck of a stadium like that has some built-in earthquake flexibility.

When it started, my first thought was that it was the vibration from the sellout crowd getting excited about the start of Game 3. It was common at my home stadium -- Anaheim Stadium -- for the fans to intentionally make the upper deck rock by stamping their feet during playoff games. Of course, it quickly became apparent that something way more serious was going on.

My most vivid recollection was climbing up to the concourse to get a look at the San Francisco skyline, and that's when I knew the thing was really bad. In the distance, plumes of smoke were rising all across the horizon. It looked like the city had been bombed. The next few days are a haze, We stayed in the Bay Area for awhile to cover some earthquake-related stories and then headed home to wait for the resumption of the World Series.

Wonder how many Baltimore fans ever considered that if a certain weekend in 1989 had gone better for the "Why Not?" Orioles, it's possible they would have been the team facing the Giants in the "Earthquake World Series."

The other Orioles link for me: Just two weeks later, I got a call from Baltimore Sun assistant sports editor Pete Baker asking me if I was interested in replacing Tim Kurkjian as the beat writer covering the O's. In December, I interviewed with sports editor Marty Kaiser and in early January I decided to move away from the beach in Southern California and settle in the Baltimore area. Truthfully, I never intended to stay this long, but you all had me at hello.

Associated Press photo

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