Quake shakes Jays, Padres at PETCO
Player reaction ranges from 'freaky' to 'fun' on 5.7 temblor
SAN DIEGO -- Depending on where you stood or sat on Monday at PETCO Park, the 5.7-magnitude earthquake that sent a ripple through the downtown stadium was either a big deal, nothing to get upset about or an event that went largely unnoticed.
Same earthquake, different reactions and, to be sure, entirely different opinions to be had.
An earthquake that struck near the United States-Mexican border in Ocotillo in southern San Diego County was felt at PETCO Park at 9:26 p.m. PT and in the bottom of the eighth inning of the Blue Jays' 6-3 victory over the Padres.
What was left of the announced crowd of 16,542 howled in delight, even while the public address announcer urged them to remain calm.
Try telling that to Padres third baseman Chase Headley, who was up to bat in the inning at the time of the earthquake. Headley, who spent his youth in Colorado and now lives in Tennessee, isn't what you would call conditioned to these temblors.
"I don't like it," Headley said of the earthquake, which was felt for about 45 or so seconds. "Not being from around here ... it's kind of freaky."
Two aftershocks, of 4.5 and 4.3 magnitude, were measured about 89 miles east of San Diego within the hour after the initial quake, though nothing was felt at the ballpark.
Headley actually stepped out of the batter's box, where he was awaiting a pitch from Blue Jays reliever Scott Downs. Catcher John Buck, incredulous to what was going on, looked at him like he was crazy.
Play resumed about as quickly as it stopped.
"I didn't even get to feel it," Buck said. "All of a sudden [Headley] stepped out and I was like, 'What's going on?' He was like, 'It's an earthquake. You don't feel it?' I was like, 'Man, I didn't even feel it.' Downsy didn't feel it. All the guys in the infield said they didn't feel it. They said you could feel the bench sway. That's kind of a weird thing."
In fact, most of the players on the field admitted to feeling nothing and first noticed that something was amiss when the right-field foul pole began to sway.
"I didn't feel it," Blue Jays outfielder Vernon Wells said. "I didn't know what everybody was fired up about. I was like, 'A plane flew over. What's the big deal?'"
To those who were in the dugout or even in the clubhouse, the sentiment was different.
"My first earthquake," Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum said. "That was pretty fun. I was in [the clubhouse]. I didn't feel it until they said something on TV. So, I kind of stopped moving and the TVs were moving a little bit and I kind of started floating back and forth a little bit. That's always fun."
San Diego outfielder Will Venable was in the clubhouse watching videotape on Blue Jays reliever Kevin Gregg to prepare for his at-bat in the ninth inning when he heard television broadcaster Mark Grant allude to the earthquake.
"I was watching video and I heard [Grant] say something about it on TV," Venable said. "Then a couple of seconds later, I felt it. It wasn't that big of a deal. I'm from Northern California and we get those every once in awhile, so it wasn't as scary as the one that we had on Easter."
Ah, the Easter workout at PETCO Park the day before the regular-season opener against the D-backs on April 5. That quake sent players and front-office staff scrambling.
That was the day a 7.2 earthquake rocked PETCO Park during a Padres workout before the team flew to Phoenix. The epicenter of that quake was near the border city of Mexicali, east of San Diego.
During that quake, the foul pole swayed, though there was only a handful of people in the ballpark.
"Man, I've been in those before," Toronto manager Cito Gaston said of the 1989 quake in the Bay Area that killed 63 and measured 7.l in magnitude on the Richter scale. "The one I was in San Francisco, that was a big one.
"They happen so fast. There's nothing you can do. You just hope that you're not in the wrong spot -- that's all. I heard a bang first, which I've never heard a bang with an earthquake. I don't know if it had something to do with that. Our dugout was just moving a little bit side to side."
The tremors were felt as far north as Los Angeles, where, at Angel Stadium, a handful of players felt small tremors. Milwaukee's Ryan Braun and Casey McGehee were unaware out on the field. Some players who were in the training room noticed it from the water sloshing around the whirlpool."Everybody was talking about it," Braun said. "That's crazy."