This week’s 30 for 30 post focuses on the documentary called, “The Day the Series Stopped.” I stumbled upon this documentary a while back and it has always stuck with me so I decided to re-watch it for this week’s post because it has a really powerful message and overall is a really great history lesson viewed through a sports lens.
So, what’s the film about? It chronicles the World Series in 1989 when the San Francisco Giants took on the Oakland A’s. They dubbed the series the Bay Bridge World Series since literally these two teams call the bay area home, separated only by the bridge.
Oakland and San Francisco are two completely different worlds. In the documentary, they described Oakland as the gritty city while San Francisco was the sophisticated city. So to have these two teams battling each other was like having high end makeup vs. drugstore makeup.
The Oakland A’s were up 2-0 in the series when they took the mound at Candlestick Park on October 17th. At 5:04 p.m. on that day a 6.9 magnitude earthquake shook the city and caused devastating effects. For those in the park, they had no idea what was going on until after they left.
It wasn’t until they had finally left that they saw the devastation of the earth quake and it was at that moment at 5:04 p.m. that it became more than a game. It didn’t matter at that the A’s were up 2 games, it didn’t matter that it was the World Series. All that mattered was that the city had been rocked and sports fell away.
63 people lost their lives that day and as the athletes said during the documentary, sports didn’t matter at that moment. When life kicks in the world stops and it can shown in how the athletes reacted to the quake with their families, pulling them down onto the field because it was thought that the pitcher’s mound was the safest place shows that in times like this nothing matters but making sure family is safe.
The craziest part of the documentary is that the stadium had actually been renovated a bit prior to the season. Can you imagine how the story would have gone if the concrete at the top of the bowl hadn’t been reinforced what would have happened? The death toll would have been much higher and who knows what would’ve happened to the series.
Overall this documentary taught me a lot, not only about the history of the series but about human nature. I give kudos to those people that helped to free people trapped on the Cypress Freeway and showed that in times of crisis it doesn’t matter what color your skin color is or where you’re from because human beings are capable of intense selflessness.
Even though the earthquake happened 27 years ago (crazy I was born that year) my heart breaks for those that lost their lives and their families and friends.
If you haven’t watched this documentary, you should because you will learn a lot about that time and see just how resilient human beings can be.