Last Friday they sat in the stands with their families at an otherwise nearly deserted Candlestick Park. In the emptiness and in the silence, Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper found the place alive, the memories tumbling out free-form and with urgency, like water over the lip of a waterfall during spring run-off.
One memory, however, dominated all others for those two ex-Giants players, now Giants broadcasters. One memory they had and hope never to have again: that October day in 1989 when the earth shook Northern California, taking 63 lives, creating fires, collapsing freeways, causing $6 billion in damage, severing a portion of the Bay Bridge roadway and scaring people like a friend I have. She will never, ever drive over a bridge again. A promise she has kept for these 24 years.
"I dropped to my knees," said Krukow, standing near home plate, "like I was fielding a ground ball."
Candlestick Park Through the Years
ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, AUG. 31-SEPT 1 - FILE - In this April 1, 1960, file photo, Candlestick Park is seen under construction in this aerial view in San Francisco. It was a baseball venue first, built for the Giants, but became best known for the 49ers and Walsh's dynamic decade. Candlestick begins the end of an era with the 49ers' home opener against Green Bay on Sept. 8. For many, the farewell season will be bittersweet. (AP Photo/File)
Architect John Bolles inspects the partially finished model of the Giants' Stadium, detailed at 1/32nd inch to the foot in San Francisco, Sept. 24, 1958. the stadium will seat more than 40,000 when completed. In addition, temporary bleachers will be erected in the outfield, and the stadium eventually, if closed in, could seat 75,000. (AP Photo/Clarence Hamm)
San Francisco's Candlestick Park is filled with 44,115 fans at an All-Star baseball game on July 11, 1961. (AP Photo/stf)
Candlestick Park, home field for the Giants and the 49ers, became a complete bowl stadium with the placement of the final section of precast concrete atop the stadium's rim in San Francisco, Jan. 28, 1972. When the park is completed in early spring, it will seat about 55,000 for baseball and 62,000 for pro football. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
In this photo provided by the California Department of Public Works, Highway Division, is an aerial view of Candlestick Park in San Francisco on opening day of the 1963 season, April 16, 1963. (AP Photo/Calif. DPW/Highways)
ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, AUG. 31-SEPT. 1 - FILE - In this Aug. 4, 1959, file photo, Candlestick Park is under construction in San Francisco. It was a baseball venue first, built for the Giants, but became best known for the 49ers and Walsh's dynamic decade. Candlestick begins the end of an era with the 49ers' home opener against Green Bay on Sept. 8. For many, the farewell season will be bittersweet. (AP Photo/Ernest K. Bennett, File)
After a night of rain and a day of drizzles, a helicopter was called on for its fan-like effect on the damp infield at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, just an hour before the scheduled game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers, May 19, 1961. The copter is shown hovering over soggy ground near first base, as players wait in dugout for workout period. This is the first game of the current series between the neighboring teams. (AP Photo/Robert H. Houston)
FILE - In this Aug. 22, 1965, file photo, San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal (27) swings a bat at Los Angeles Dodgers catcher John Roseboro as Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, rear right, tries to break it up in the third inning at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Violence is part of the game in many sports. But when athletes cross the line it can attract the attention of authorities _ sometimes from within their sport and in other cases from criminal prosecutors. The punishment of four members of the New Orleans Saints for participating a cash-for-hits bounty system targeting opponents is the latest example but not the only one. (AP Photo/Robert H. Houston, File)
A low wet fog swirled across the field at Candlestick Park in San Francisco as the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants opened a three-game series, Aug. 31, 1962. The Giants won over the Reds with a 10-2 victory. (AP Photo)
San Francisco Giants outfielder Felipe Alou is shown in August 1962. (AP Photo)
Giants' first baseman Willie McCovey is welcomed by teammates at the San Francisco dugout after he drove the ball high over the right field fence in seventh inning, Oct. 5, 1962 in San Francisco and put Giants ahead, 2-0, in second game of World Series in Candlestick Park. Giants shutout the New Yorkers, 2-0. (AP Photo)
Willie Mays, San Francisco Giants center fielder, center, is hugged by Felipe Alou after he slugged two-run homer over right centerfield fence, Oct. 1, 1962, San Francisco, Calif. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this Oct. 4, 1962, file photo, Tom Tresh, left, of the New York Yankees, and Willie Mays, of the San Francisco Giants, talk before the first game of the World Series in San Francisco. Two ballparks and a half century after the Giants relocated from New York, San Francisco Giants fans still are waiting for a World Series championship that eluded them on three occasions. (AP Photo/File)
Willie Mays, center field slugger of the San Francisco Giants, connects with the 3,000th hit of his career a single to left-in second inning against Montreal on July 18, 1970 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Expos catcher John Bateman waits for pitch from teammate Mike Wegener. It never arrived. Umpire is Mel Steiner. Mays received the ball immediately at ceremony on the field. (AP Photo)
San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Joe Montana walks off the field carrying his helmet and towel after the Super Bowl champs lost to the San Diego Chargers, 41-37, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Dec. 11, 1982. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
San Francisco Giants Joe Morgan is congratulated at the plate by teammates Guy Sularz and Bob Brenly after Morgan hit a three run homer over the right field fence in the seventh inning in afternoon, Sunday, Oct. 4, 1982 in San Francisco at Candlestick Park. (AP Photo)
San Francisco 49ers' head coach Bill Walsh, center, shares a laugh with quarterback Joe Montana, in red jacket at right, and receiver Dwight Clark, left, during picture day at San Francisco's Candlestick Park, Jan. 16, 1985. The 49ers will meet the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX on Sunday. (AP Photo)
San Francisco 49ers Dwight Clark leaps high in the endzone to catch a Joe Montana pass that tied the game late in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship football game at Candlestick Park, Jan. 10, 1982. The extra point gave the 49ers a 28-27 win and a berth in the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Dallas Morning News, Phil Huber)
Two women take shelter from the cold with a sleeping bag on the upper deck of Candlestick Park in San Francisco, July 9, 1985. This season, the Giants have moved most of their games to midday because too few fans were willing to brave the cold summer nights at the park. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana walks dejected off the field after the 49ers lost to the New Orleans Saints 26-24, Sunday, Nov. 15, 1987 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Tom Riggs)
Groundskeepers at Candlestick Park work on the rain-soaked playing field midway through the first half, Saturday, Jan. 9, 1993 in San Francisco during the NFC Divisional Playoff between the 49ers and Washington Redskins. (AP Photo/Susan Ragan)
San Fransico 49ers quarterback Joe Montana leaves the field for perhaps the last time after losing the NFC championship to the Dallas Cowboys 30-30 on Jan. 17, 1993 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Dallas will play the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Members of the Oakland Athletics stand and stare as Candlestick Park-goers leave the stadium in the wake of the major earthquake that struck Northern California just before game 3 of the World Series against the San Francisco Giants on Oct. 17, 1989. (AP Photo)
** FOR USE AS DESIRED WITH EARTHQUAKE ANNIVERSARY STORIES ** In this photo taken On October 17, 1989, Oakland A's Jose Canseco walks off the field with his wife Ester and other A's players before the start of the World Series at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Oct. 17, 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. (AP Photo/Contra Costa Times, Dan Rosenstrauch) ** MAGS OUT; NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT **
High clouds and the setting sun fall behind 3Com Park at Candlestick Point as the San Francisco Giants battle the Philadelphia Phillies in one of their final night games of the season in San Francisco, on Aug. 31, 1999. Next season the Giants will move from the 'Stick", their home since 1960, to the new Pacific Bell Park. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice, left, runs with the ball past Los Angeles Raiders cornerback Lionel Washington to score his 125th career touchdown during the first quarter at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on Sept. 5, 1994. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, left, and former wide receiver Dwight Clark are shown before an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams in San Francisco, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Candlestick Park is dimly lit during a power outage before an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers in San Francisco, Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) celebrates after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012, in San Francisco. The 49ers won 36-32. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Candlestick Park in San Francisco was the first waterfront ballpark in the Bay Area. With an ever-changing and modern city skyline, Candlestick, however unique, was not updated to fit the changing needs of fans and sports culture, Friday Dec. 20, 2013. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013
Krukow looked up, wondering what was up, the same look of trepidation everyone had that day inside Candlestick, when hard ground turned to Jell-O. People were trying to get their sea legs and how nervous did that make them — since they weren't at sea.
"That's because a 600-pound gopher just ran past me at 40 miles an hour," Krukow said.
When Game 3 of the 1989 World Series was played 10 days later, the Series was never the same and neither was Krukow.
"It was the day that changed my life," the broadcaster said. "I saw life a whole different way. I saw how important life was, how fragile life is."
Sure, Krukow already knew of the concept — the fragility of life. Sure, people outside California knew earthquakes were dangerous. But the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake introduced America to a real-time filmed event, not a black-and-white picture in a history book.
So unusual was the experience, however, very few people inside Candlestick immediately knew of the devastation. This was before cell phones and texting and instant messaging. Initially it felt like a reason to party.
"Within minutes," said Giants vice president for ballpark operations Jorge Costa, who has been with the team for 25 years, "someone had drawn up a poster that read: 'Now Wait Until The Giants Take The Field!'"