It was a treat to see the 24-year-old left-hander in a dashing three-piece suit and out of the season-long concentration mode, making a quick and funny stop at the "Late Show with David Letterman" set in New York on the day off between a Game 5 clincher and the Friday parade back in Philadelphia.
Hamels was at the Ed Sullivan Theater to read the "Top Ten Things That Went Through Cole Hamels' Mind After Winning The World Series." To wit:
10. "Maybe I'll get to be on 'Dancing With The Stars.'"
9. "Can I wear my cup in the offseason?" (Letterman: "Well, sure, you know I'm wearing one right now.")
8. "The Rays collapsed faster than my 401(k)." Hamels then improvised with an expressive "hi-yo" -- clearly making sure Evan Longoria et al know he's joking.
7. "How cool a name is Cole Hamels?"
6. "This must be how the Yankees used to feel." (Letterman: "Hey, wait a minute ...")
5. "Is the Phillie Phanatic hitting on my wife?" Hamels was referring to another former CBS personality, the former Heidi Strobel, who was a contestant on "Survivor: The Amazon."
4. "Seriously, how cool a name is Cole Hamels?"
3. "How can I celebrate when the nation's economic output is the weakest it's been since the third quarter of 2001?"
2. "I hope John McCain will start calling me 'Cole the pitcher.'"
1. "Now maybe I'll get to appear on Leno."
Letterman called it "Phillies Fever." After Hamels read the list, the host gave him a "congratulations" and then one of baseball's new stars scooted right back off the stage, that pitching hand in the left pocket. As Hamels disappeared, Letterman started reading off a card and said: "Oh ... the Mets are playing golf."
Hamels went 4-0 during the postseason with a no-decision in the clinching Game 5 against Tampa Bay, replaced by pinch-hitter Geoff Jenkins 46 hours after the game was suspended by rain. Hamels was bidding to become the first pitcher in postseason history to win five starts.
Hamels isn't the only Phillie to appear on the Late Show. Ryan Howard sat in the guest chair in April 2007, when he was the reigning National League MVP. He got laughs when he described his mom keeping him on an allowance and refused Letterman's request to "go easy on the Mets."
Baseball always seemed to be on Letterman's mind during Thursday's show. The host began his monologue with some World Series zingers. For instance:
"You folks see the World Series last night? How about those Phillies, and how about that Series? It was so cold during the game in Philadelphia that the players were actually injecting each other with hot soup. That's a great story."
"Game 5 lasted 50 hours, start to finish. That's just about three hours longer than usual. And President Bush, after the big game, phoned the Phillies to congratulate them, and luckily the Phillies have caller I.D., so that didn't go through."
Letterman also did a Halloween skit, with kids trick-or-treating at his "house." When a girl named Julianna rang the doorbell dressed as an airport security-line tub filled with confiscated liquids, he asked her: "Do ya like baseball?"
She nodded, and he then picked up several MLB game tickets. While dropping them into her goodie bag, he said, "We have World Series tickets for the Yanks and the Mets."
The World Series is over. But they're still talking baseball.