10/22/08 10:25 PM EST
Miller dealing with serious family issue
Daughter of Rays reliever almost died during ALCS celebration
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
The Millers' daughter, Grace, was born with a rare chromosome abnormality and she was literally choking on her own mucus during the final outs of the American League Championship Series.
Seated in Section 106, Pari performed a trachea change to clear Grace's airway, calmly explaining to the onsite EMTs that her daughter's face would return back to normal from its bluish color once the trachea was in. And while Miller and his teammates were celebrating their larger-than-life accomplishment on the field and in the clubhouse, Pari was celebrating another smaller miracle.
"Trever and I have the attitude that every day we wake up and if we're alive and all three kids are alive, [this] is icing on the cake," Pari said. [Grace] has made us appreciate the special things in life -- good health and family and friends and memories, that's what's important."
So Pari let her husband have his memory, and she had her mother-in-law make up an excuse for her and Grace's absence from the postgame celebrations.
"I wanted him to enjoy the moment," Pari said prior to Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night. "He's waited his whole life for this."
But her husband of 13 years knew something wasn't right, and eventually Pari folded and explained the night's events to Trever.
"We've been through this before with Grace," Trever said. "We know she needs a trachea change immediately. As long as that goes well, you are in the clear."
The Rays reliever talks about the life-and-death matter with a calmness that is almost alarming. But in the 4 1/2 years they've been blessed with Grace, there have been so many events that coping under duress has become the Miller family's specialty.
"I think some of the people in the [surrounding] stands were probably a little shocked, they've probably never seen anything like that," said Trever. "But that's life. It's not one of those things you can control, and you got to be prepared to handle it when it does."
Grace's condition is so rare that she is only the 21st diagnosed case. More amazing still is that the young Miller is the only patient to have lived longer than one year.
"She's a pioneer," Pari said.
And Grace was back Wednesday night, watching her father's team play in the World Series. The crowds and the environment can be a bit much for Grace, so the Millers planned to send her and their other two children -- who have school in the morning -- home around 9:30 p.m. ET.
Grace will stay home when the rest of the family makes the Philadelphia trip, too. But on Wednesday night, the Miller family was healthy, alive and decked out in their Rays garb at Tropicana Field.
Pari looked down at Grace in her stroller, her Rays jersey left at home since it makes her too hot.
"We know every day we have her is a gift," Pari said. "She's on her own time."
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.