About 'The Day The Series Stopped'
On Oct. 17, 1989, at 5:04 p.m. PT, soon after Al Michaels and Tim McCarver started the ABC telecast for Game 3 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics, the ground began to shake beneath Candlestick Park. Even before that moment, this had promised to be a memorable matchup: the first in 33 years between teams from the same metropolitan area, a battle featuring larger-than-life characters and equally colorful fan bases. But after the 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake rolled through, bringing death and destruction, the Bay Area pulled together, and baseball took a backseat. Through archival footage, previously untold stories from players, officials, San Francisco and Oakland citizens affected by the earthquake, and a scientific look back at what happened below the earth, "The Day The Series Stopped" will revisit that night 25 years ago. The record book shows that the A's swept the Giants, but that's become a footnote to the larger story of the 1989 World Series.
When I was 6 years old I went to my first A's game at the Coliseum. It was the 1982 season and the A's went on to finish fifth in the American League West that year. Despite the team struggling, Rickey Henderson broke Lou Brock's major league single season record by stealing 130 bases, a total which has not been approached since. Through the mid-80s I watched my team struggle, but in 1988 the A's made it to the Series. I was at Game 5 that year and was forced to watch the Dodgers celebrate a World Series Championship on our home turf.
The following year the A's were on a mission. I was sure that getting Ricky Henderson back from the Yankees halfway through the season was a sign of good things to come. As the A's continued to roll, the Giants came on strong late in the season, and it seemed all of northern California was psyched about the inevitability of a Bay Bridge series.
The A's went on to dominate games 1 and 2 of the series and I was already getting ready for the celebration. On Tuesday, Oct. 17, 1989, the scene was shifting to Candlestick Park for Game 3. Just before 5 p.m. PT, I went with my mom to the local market to pick up a few supplies before the game. As my mom was writing a check (it was 1989), I remember feeling a jolt and then looking down the long aisle, where the ground was rolling like a wave in the ocean. I couldn't believe my eyes. When it was over the Loma Prieta earthquake had measured 6.9 on the Richter scale and caused death and destruction in the Bay Area. Both cities and their residents suddenly had much more important things to worry about outside of baseball.
This film is the story of that historic day as told through the eyes of the players, fans, officials and the people from my hometown in the Bay Area.
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Ryan Fleck is an American screenwriter and director best known for co-writing and directing the "Half Nelson" (2006), starring Ryan Gosling in a role for which he received an Oscar nomination for best actor. Fleck also co-wrote and co-directed "Sugar," which Bill Simmons ranked "one of the best 20 or 25 sports films ever." Ryan is currently in post-production on "Mississippi Grind," starring Ryan Reynolds, Ben Mendelsohn and Sienna Miller. Ryan Fleck was born in Berkeley, California, and raised in Berkeley and Oakland, California.
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