Stairs reveling in return to Philly

Stairs reveling in return to Philly

PHILADELPHIA -- During the two seasons Matt Stairs spent with the Phillies, he lived in New Jersey, drove to and from the ballpark on game days and that was about it. He still doesn't know where some of Philadelphia's prominent landmarks sit, never even visited the Liberty Bell.

"Now I'm a tourist, so I'll go look around," Stairs said, dressing in the visitors' locker room of Citizens Bank Park before Friday's game.

Stairs returned to Philadelphia for the first time since he signed as a free agent with San Diego in the offseason, and the 42-year-old reserve outfielder said he was excited to play against the team he won a World Series with two years ago.

"Whenever you win a World Series ring, any team you play for in whatever city, it's always going to be special," Stairs said. "It'll be special coming back here and seeing the fans."

Stairs has played in 30 games so far this year for the Padres, after appearing in 115 over the past two seasons for the Phillies. He became part of Philadelphia sports lore, though, after hitting the game-winning home run in Game 4 of the 2008 National League Championship Series against Los Angeles.

For that, Philadelphia fans will be likely to give Stairs a nice ovation if he makes an appearance at all during this series. Stairs is used primarily as a pinch-hitter.

"Last year when I struggled, people were still supporting me," Stairs said. "I ended up getting that big walk in the playoffs. The support here is unbelievable from the fans."