VICE PRESIDENT Joe Biden figured he would have some explaining to do during a campaign stop in Chicago this week - that is, explain his support of the Flyers in the Stanley Cup finals.

Biden, from Delaware, was at the Wachovia Center for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals with his wife, Jill. The Flyers won that game to even the series at two games apiece.

"I have to tell you I am guilty as charged," he said, according to the Chicago Tribune, during a stop for Congressional hopeful Dan Seals. "I am a Philadelphia Flyers fan and I make no bones about it. I was a Flyers fan before, but then I married a Philly girl.

"Philadelphia fans are the most, uh, most persistent fans in the world. My wife is counted among them . . . it's a simple proposition. I root fervently for the Flyers or I sleep alone. It's not a hard call. It's not a hard call at all. That was one hell of a series, though."

The Bidens did not attend Game 6, because they were traveling to Africa. Joe Biden said his wife believed the Flyers would have won had she been there.

Biddle ready to go

Phillies' first-round pick Jesse Biddle will make his pro debut Friday in the Gulf Coast League against the Yankees in Clearwater, Fla.

"It's really exciting," Biddle said yesterday. "I am just working hard down here and I am ready to go."

Biddle just turned 18 and graduated from Germantown Friends, but he is adapting well to his new life in a Phillies uniform.

"I have been waiting for it for a long time so I am ready for it," Biddle said. "I have been prepping myself for a long time and it's just kind of starting to become more real. It's a lot of fun and I am having a good time. I am getting to know a lot of people and getting a lot better at baseball."

As to how long he will be on the mound Friday, pitching coach Chuck Hernandez said, "Probably three to four innings, 50 pitches."

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