My most memorable game was the one not played on October 17, 1989.
That particular Tuesday afternoon started out warm and sunny for the third game of the World Series. The newspapers labeled the Series, “The Battle of the Bay,” between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics. Yet all I cared about was that my beloved Giants had lost the first two games and needed a win.
Most nine-year old boys are fidgety bundles of energy and I was no different. My excitement erupted during batting practice.
“Who’s batting now?” I said, nudging Dad in the ribs with my elbow.
Dad faked a deep groan.
“Oh! Mark McGwire.”
“Wow!” I screamed, “Look how far that ball went. It must’ve gone a mile.”
“At least that far,” he said with a smile.
“Jeremiah, honey,” mom whispered in the way mothers always do at the wrong time in a young boy’s life, “you should go to the restroom and eat something before the game starts.”
“Mom, not now. The other Bash Brother will be taking his swings next. I want to see if he hits balls as far as McGwire just did. Please, Mom, please.”
“Jake?” said mom, calling in the heavy artillery to win her point.
Dad sighed and nodded his head.
“Son, as soon as Canseco hits, let’s run to the restroom and grab some food on our way back. Okay, son?”
“But Dad, what about Will Clark and Kevin Mitchell? I don’t want to miss them when the Giants have their batting practice.”
He raised his hands in surrender.
“Sorry son, we’ll have to take our chances. But don’t worry; we won’t miss any of the game. There will be nine innings of action.”
The players lined the first and third baselines when Dad and I arrived back at our seats. The PA announcer introduced the starting lineups for each team.
Then, it happened.
At 5:04 PM, the first tremors hit. A hush devoured the crowd’s enthusiasm. Here and there, I heard people say, “Earthquake!” And, “Lord, help us.”
The initial shaking commenced with rapid tremors and a deep rumble. Great waves of vibrations washed over us. I saw the press box out of the corner of my eye as it swayed back and forth like a palm tree in a hurricane. The electric power then went out and the stadium lights darkened.
I sat frozen in my seat as Dad and mom put their arms around me. But at that instant, I knew they could not protect me from the force causing the earth to shake under our feet. It was too big. Too powerful for Mom and Dad to fight off.
The shaking lasted fifteen seconds and then quit.
The crowd remained calm and quiet. Nobody moved. It was as if the people thought the slightest movement might cause the stadium to collapse on them. The players walked off the field and disappeared into the dugouts.
Minutes later, the umpires canceled the game and the PA announcer ordered the crowd to leave the stadium.
We later learned a 7.1 earthquake had hit San Francisco. The media at first estimated three hundred or more people killed, but this was later reduced to sixty-three. Forty of the fatalities occurred on Interstate I-80 where a double-decker portion of the freeway collapsed, crushing the cars on the lower deck. A section of the Bay Bridge also collapsed.
I sat in the backseat as Dad drove home. It was disappointing the game was not played, but even more than that, I wondered about the power behind the earthquake. Where did it come from?
Mom turned around and looked at me.
“Jeremiah, are you okay?”
“Mom, I’m wondering something.”
“Where does the power come from that causes an earthquake?”
She thought for a moment.
“God, I guess.”
“God has that kind of power?”
“Yes, honey, He does.”
Even though we attended a Pacific Heights church, it had never dawned on me God had power, especially awesome, earth-shaking power. Power to destroy. Power to kill. Power that could not be harnessed by man.
If God is a God of power, I thought, I’d sure like to remain on His good side. I wouldn’t want Him to ever be mad at me.
(Excerpt from Jonah by Larry Nevenhoven, ©2012, Amazon eBook)
My prayer today:
Lord, help us American believers to once again fear You, the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Based on Matthew 10:28)
What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?
Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.