SAN FRANCISCO -- Like thousands of other San Franciscans, I sat in Candlestick Park and nervously awaited Game 3 of the 1989 World Series when suddenly the earth moved.
Amazingly, most of the 40,000-plus gathered for the game remained calm and in fact cheered the powerful quake jokingly before realizing that this was no light-hearted matter.
Phones immediately went out and the sky went dark from power outages. Despite harrowing circumstances, no panic swept the stands. Fans stood looking at each other wondering what to do.
Each aftershock caused concern to grow more and more, and then word began to filter through the crowd on the radios: A section of the Bay Bridge had collapsed. A massive fire was sweeping through the Marina District. The Berekley Library was on fire. There were deaths.
The gaiety normally associated with a World Series game had turned to fear.
When baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent called off the game indefinitely, the order was given to clear the stadium. Thousands of fans streamed out in an orderly fashion, climbing onto MUNI buses, wondering what awaited them in the city.
They did not have to wait long.
As the buses approached the city, the sickly sight of a huge column of smoke rising above the Marina District signified the battle that was being fought elsewhere for lives.
As the buses got into the city, they were met by streams of workers pouring into neighborhoods. Their faces told a story of worry, anxiety and the awful truth that the unthinkable happened -- that San Franciso had once again felt the jolt of a mighty earthquake.
As the sun set, the city darkened by the massive power outages took on a ghostly hue.
Only sporadic lights dotted the famed San Francisco skyline, but mostly there was darkness and the amber glow of automobile tail lights.
The errie wail of sirens pierced the air as emergency crews were pushed to the brink and helicopters landed within blocks of City Hall. What was once only a plan on paper now had turned into an earthquake command center.
With communications slowly returning, the casualty toll would grow and many in the city would go to bed Tuesday night not knowing the fate of their loved ones, who had been stranded elsewhere.
The Davies Symphony Hall oddly glowed like a lit jewel in the middle of the darkness. Inexplicably, it's lights were on where there were no other lights for miles.
And the Goodyear blimp hovered above, flashing its advertisements as if nothing had happened.