10/29/08 7:52 PM EST
Rays relax before resuming Game 5
Players hang out, watch movies in Delaware on day off
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
Based at an historic hotel in Wilmington, Del., the Rays went in all different directions on a strange day, with the outcome of the World Series hanging in the balance.
"[It was] about as bizarre a thing as I've seen in my days in baseball," said Don Zimmer, a senior advisor for the Rays, who has spent 60 years in baseball. "In Boston [during the 1975 World Series when he was a third-base coach for the Red Sox], we had three rain delays. But I've never witnessed anything like this. This exceeded that. Of course, this whole year has exceeded everything."
Ben Zobrist, the Rays' super utility player, spent the day in Wilmington and reached for some local inspiration.
"Slept in, got up, my wife and I went to the mall, watched 'Rocky' the movie," Zobrist said. "We actually bought it at the mall. Just came back and watched 'Rocky,' the first one. Just because we're in Philadelphia, this is where the movie was shot. I thought it might be kind of cool. I haven't seen it for a while. My wife had never seen it."
Zobrist did not get inspired to the point of guzzling raw eggs and jogging the early morning streets of Philadelphia.
"But I was definitely inspired to punch some meat," he teased.
Dioner Navarro did the family thing, though he has no idea where he went.
"I went to my wife's cousin's uncle's house last night," Navarro said. "I don't know where it was. It was like an hour away. We just went out there, we killed a pig, ate a pig, spent a nice family day yesterday. Traditional Spanish food, it was good. We just ate like crazy yesterday."
Navarro felt like Tuesday gave the team an opportunity to relax.
"We didn't think about baseball for about one whole day, which is rare for us," Navarro said. "About the last two months, we've been involved in so many big games. And I think that worked to our advantage yesterday. We got to relax. We got to sit back and just chill and go back at them today. There's nothing else that we could do. Just sit back and wait. And that's what we did."
Rocco Baldelli said he was in his room for the length of the team's stay in Wilmington.
"Just watching movies," Baldelli said. "I've seen all the movies, so I was actually re-seeing all the movies, nothing exciting. I didn't shut my TV off or get out the bed for any reason. Watched multiple movies, I've seen them all really. Not too big on the movies on at the hotel. There's 'Hancock,' 'The Replacements,' 'Get Smart.' I've seen them all. I watched probably four movies, maybe five.
"Cell phone was off, computer was on, TV was on. And I had a different room-service person bring me food every time, probably eight times. I don't know what that means."
Baldelli said the players would rather have had Game 5 in the rearview mirror, but given the circumstances, having Tuesday off wasn't that bad.
"We had no choice," Baldelli said. "We have to deal with the elements, what's given us. For me, personally, I'll always take a day off. That's fine with me."
And finally, after the Rays had their day off, the final 3 1/2 innings of Game 5 sat on the horizon on Wednesday night.
"It's kind of interesting," James Shields said. "I've never had a game where we have to play three innings to determine whether or not we're going to go home or play another game. It's kind of fun. We're in the clubhouse, I walked in the clubhouse today and everyone was kind of joking around about it. It's like a three-inning war. And that's pretty much how we're going to take it. It is what it is. We're anxious and ready to go right now."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.