Bits and pieces: Philly
First meal of the playoffs wasn't at some local Philly dive (ate at Rick's cheesesteaks last week, related somehow to Pat's), but rather at corporate giant McCormick and Schmick's, made popular by Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler on (the late) Washington Post Radio. I was sitting at a table in the bar with Ben Shpigel of The New York Times, and who walked out after a nice dinner with his mom and dad? That would be Ryan Howard. Apparently, the cure for an 0-for-4, three-strikeout playoff debut is a nice piece of arctic char.
McCormick and Schmick's: I'm a bit of a seafood snob because I lived in Maine for a few years and because I go back there every summer, but if you want a nice, grilled piece of fish -- I had halibut -- it's very reliable. Also had an oyster sampler, which was great. But I don't expect this to be the most interesting meal of the playoffs.
Baseball: Talked to Jamey Carroll after yesterday's game for a while. You know why this guy's one of the most decent people I've ever covered in sports? Because it took him all of 45 seconds -- and let me remind you, this is less than 48 hours after the biggest moment of his career -- to ask, "So how did everything finish up in Washington? They played really well down the stretch." And he turned the discussion away from himself and to the Nationals.
Also saw old friend Vinny Castilla, who's living the dream as an assistant to Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd. He is revered in Denver, and is very, very happy. He wants to manage in the Mexican winter league, but he's enjoying the ride right now.
One last thing before I head to the park: Anyone who's watching the Rockies ought to look at how they're built. Seems to me this is kind of what the Nats want to do. As I said before here and in the paper, Atkins, Holliday, Tulowitzki, Helton, Francis and Corpas were all homegrown. So is today's starter, Franklin Morales, rushed from Class AA to the majors because of injuries to the staff. Morales and Corpas are direct results of a Latin American program the Rockies instituted seven years ago. So is right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. That's the kind of core the Nationals would like to build internally. There's a way to go. As Jim Bowden said the other day, "We need more Zimmermans."
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