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World Series: Tampa Bay Rays make the best of hotel move

WILMINGTON, Del. — Thanks to the Rays, the lobby of the Hotel du Pont was a hotbed of activity Tuesday afternoon.

Kids knelt around a table, coloring in their books. Reliever Grant Balfour walked back from getting a blue cheese burger at a local pub. Reliever Trever Miller met with his dad, organizing their plans. SS Jason Bartlett held his baby son, Jayden.

The Rays appeared to make the most of an admittedly odd situation — moving to a new hotel 30 minutes outside Philadelphia after Monday's suspension of Game 5 — by bonding together, with some braving the chilly weather to explore a town many had never been in before.

"It's like getting snowed in," manager Joe Maddon said. "Everybody kind of gathers today. Like I came down this morning to get the coffee, and there were a bunch of Rays folks down there having a good time."

Maddon planned to rent a car and drive to Philadelphia to visit with his children, who were at his niece's house. Bench coach Dave Martinez headed out to get dry clothes for his children, whose gear got soaked in Monday's storm. Miller did some dad duty, calling his children's school to get their homework, which McKenzie and Tyler worked on upstairs. Miller brought board games Monopoly and Clue on the trip.

"Get the whole team up there playing Clue together," Miller joked. "That would be something special."

CLUBHOUSE CONFUSION: Though commissioner Bud Selig made it clear in a post-game news conference Monday that he had decided every World Series game would last a full nine innings, suspension or not, several Rays were confused when they entered the clubhouse during the rain delay. They thought the regular-season rule — a game that is stopped at least 4½ innings in would be counted as a win for the leading team — would apply. "We just heard on the TV when we came back in, they said, 'Thanks to that run (in the sixth) our season is still going,' " Bartlett said. Said reliever J.P. Howell: "We were like, 'Oh, come on.' " Before the matter was cleared up, Bartlett said several players thanked Carlos Pena for the tying hit.

BIG BATS BACK?: With 3B Evan Longoria entering Monday's Game 5 hitless in his first 16 World Series at-bats, his father, Mike, had simple advice for him: "Just be you." And after Longoria delivered a hit Monday night — and Pena added two of his own — the heart of the Rays order looked like its old self. "Me and Carlos talked about the game, keep swinging the bat and good things are gonna happen," Longoria said. "(Monday), fortunately, it turned for us a little bit and, hopefully, we got a lot more (at-bats) to turn this thing around."

STEP BY STEP: So how did CF B.J. Upton navigate through the puddles and score from second with the tying run on Pena's single in the sixth? Carefully.

"(I was) tiptoeing, trying to tell myself to 'stay up' and not fall down," Upton said. "That base hit, I knew he couldn't charge the ball like he wanted to and I couldn't run like I wanted to. Luckily, it worked out for us and I made it."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

World Series: Tampa Bay Rays make the best of hotel move 10/28/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 30, 2008 2:57pm]
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