Phillies chill with family on day off
Before resuming Game 5, players spend time with loved ones
PHILADELPHIA -- It was cold enough that Matt Stairs spent part of his unexpected day off Tuesday discussing his first love: hockey.While Stairs may be in Philadelphia preparing to resume Game 5 of the World Series against the Rays, the veteran outfielder thinks of the sport that he grew up playing -- and still follows. He's always quick to discuss the rink.
Stairs, 40, spent the past offseason serving as an assistant hockey coach for John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor, Maine, leading the team to its first state semifinal appearance in school history.In preparation for the new season, the native of New Brunswick, Canada, was already looking at the potential roster of players. "I wanted to see what the team was going to look like," Stairs said. "The season is starting soon." Unlike Stairs, most players spent the day relaxing with family. Bullpen catcher Mick Billmeyer, who is fighting a cold, said he wasn't needed at the ballpark to throw batting practice, an indication that even obsessive worker Chase Utley may have rested. Though that's doubtful. Clay Condrey fired up the stove. "Homemade beer chili for all," he said. Scott Eyre spent part of the day at the Deptford Mall with his kids and wife, then spent the night playing "Phase 10."
Chad Durbin had to say goodbye to family who weren't able to stay in town. That fact worked to the benefit of Brett Ireson, a 26-year-old management trainee from Enterprise Rent-A-Car.Since Stephanie Durbin, Chad's sister, could no longer attend the game, she gave her ticket to Ireson, who happily agreed to cheer from seat 422, row 8, seat 20. After resting their bodies, the players returned to Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday, with a chance to capture the franchise's second World Series championship. Manager Charlie Manuel disputed the notion that the extra wait somehow meant that destiny was on the Rays' side, despite Tampa Bay being down, 3-1. "I wouldn't trade positions," he said. "I feel like I have an advantage. That's kind of how I look at it. Destiny is one thing, but if they're destined, we want to definitely fight through destiny."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.