Gaston recalls '89 earthquake in Bay Area

Gaston recalls '89 earthquake in Bay Area

SAN DIEGO -- When an earthquake shook PETCO Park during the eighth inning on Monday night, many of the Blue Jays players sitting in the visitors' dugout began to laugh and joke around.

Manager Cito Gaston had a different reaction.

"I see some of the guys laughing and stuff like that," Gaston said. "My first thought is, 'Hey, this could be bad. This is not a good thing.' I started thinking about, 'OK, where are you going to go?' There's nowhere to go. That's what I was thinking."

The magnitude-5.7 quake that made the stadium quiver was centered roughly 90 miles east of San Diego. It was not a serious temblor, but Gaston's response stemmed from experience.

During Game 3 of the 1989 World Series between the A's and Giants, Gaston was sitting down the third-base line at Candlestick Park in San Francisco when an earthquake rattled the ballpark. That magnitude-6.9 quake caused massive destruction to the Bay Area and killed 63 people.

That night, Gaston was forced to sleep in a rental car near the stadium.

"There was a girl that was sitting in the stands," Gaston said. "She had a portable TV and she started to cry. I said, 'What's she crying about? Everything's OK here.' Then you start seeing all the bridges down -- bridges that we just came across the day before. It was some night.

"It was the first time I'd ever seen like a war zone. That's the way downtown San Francisco looked. It looked like a war zone. Streets were buckled. Things were on fire. It really was an experience that, I'm glad I went through it, but I don't want to go through it again."