On Sunday, former Royals pitcher Bret Saberhagen participated in a dinner and reception that kicked off a fundraiser in northern California for three charities, including the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
The main event was a celebrity golf outing on Monday in Santa Rosa, Calif., but Saberhagen never got the chance to play because of fires that have devastated the wine country area.
In fact, Saberhagen twice had to flee the fires, and he described the evening to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. It started Sunday night at the Mayacama Golf Club.
“It was a crazy, surreal night,” Saberhagen told Slusser after he had arrived back at his home in Southern California. “I was out on the balcony at Mayacama when the power went out and sat down, and saw the moon come up. It was very nice. And then I saw the moon turn orange and it started getting lighter and lighter. I saw the fire coming over the ridge and I could hear propane and gas tanks popping.”
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The Chronicle story says Saberhagen told former Blue Jays outfielder Joe Carter (who lives in Johnson County now) and former Olympic gold-medal winning speed skater Dan Jansen about the fire. Just after midnight, everyone was told to evacuate, and Saberhagen left his golf clubs behind so he could fit Jansen and his wife into his car.
They eventually made it to a Best Western. At about 2:30 a.m., former Dodgers pitcher Eric Gagne was at the door and awoke Saberhagen.
“Eric was yelling, ‘Get up, get up,’ knocking at every door, and when I opened the door, smoke billowed in and I could see areas on fire,” Saberhagen told Slusser. “There was a telephone pole on fire, the grounds were on fire, ashes were flying all over the place, and what really scared me was that there was a gas station across the street.”
You can read more on the story here, including how Barry Bonds shuttled guests away from the fire.