WASHINGTON - There is less than an hour to go before the trading deadline (this sentence was written at 3:04 p.m.) so consider this the last update before the clock strikes.
After 4 p.m. the 2008 Phillies and the entire landscape of the great, National Past Time could look dramatically different.
Anyway, there is nothing new to report here. Apparently a Manny Ramirez trade to the Marlins is DOA, though the Ken Griffey Jr. trade to the White Sox is quite intriguing. For one thing, the White Sox now have a member of the 500 Home Run Club (Jim Thome) and the even more elite, 600 Home Run Club (Griffey).
But all is quiet on the Phillies front. At least all is quiet for now. The first team bus arrived at the park around 3 p.m. and all the usual suspects were aboard. So for the time being, general manager Pat Gillick is standing pat.
Otherwise, I had a nice leisurely morning and afternoon here in The District. After a humid and sultry morning jaunt through a wooded trail (I saw another deer), I rolled through Florida Ave. and the U Street corridor to the Adams-Morgan section of town where I finally got to eat at The Amsterdam Falafel Shop.
Now I have never been to Amsterdam or Holland, but folks who know better say the Adams-Morgan Amsterdam Falafel Shop is as authentic as it gets. In fact, one giveaway to the authenticity of the TAMF (not sure people call it this, but you know, I'll put it out there) is that they serve brownies and make it a point to inform the consumer that they are not "enhanced."
Enhanced is my word. On the menu they were called "virgin" brownies.
Anyway, the menu is very basic at The Amsterdam Falafel Shop in Adams-Morgan, located just a half block from the famous Madam's Organ - the place Playboy magazine named the best bar in the United States. In fact, they serve just falafel (two sizes), Dutch baked fries (two sizes) and un-enhanced brownies (square shaped).
Each sandwich is made to order and each diner can add any of the 18 different sauces and toppings from the garnish bar.
It's definitely a treat, man. Plus, they usually stay open late (but not past midnight on a Sunday as I learned last month) so if you find yourself in the area and get a hankering for authentic Dutch falafel, by all means, drop in.
After lunch, I drove to the ballpark via Capitol Hill where it looked as if there was a lot of governing going on... a lot of gentrification, too. It seems to me that The District has at least one Starbucks for every household. Interestingly, neighborhoods that were once talked about in hushed, scared tones are now filled with people walking around in madras shorts and business suits with a chai latte in hand.
OK, time for the clubhouse. By the time I get back we'll know if the Phillies have any new players or not.
 Why is it that whenever I see deer, elk or coyotes during runs while in Colorado I just shrug it off as no big deal, yet when I cross paths with a deer in Washington or Lancaster I get freaked out? Historically, there have been a lot of deer in the Northeast and their habitat (obviously) is shrinking, however, when I see one I run away... fast. I run away completely scared to death and afraid even to look over my shoulder for fear that it might be chasing me. Meanwhile, in other parts of the country I try to get as close as possible to those unfamiliar wild animals. Passing an elk in town in Colorado is like seeing a stray cat... what gives?
WASHINGTON – We’re back here in The District and man is it ever steamy. It’s just flat-out hot and humid, which kind of makes sense seeing as they built the city on top of a swamp.
Generally, swamps are warm. I try to avoid them.
But I don’t try to avoid Washington, D.C. Despite the unpleasant weather and the oppressive humidity, it’s far and away the best city in the NL East. There is just so much to do and so much going on that it isn’t hard to believe that folks stay away from Nationals’ games in droves.
Word around the campfire is that a few members of the Phillies traveling party took in the Spy Museum this afternoon.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Spy Museum… I haven’t been there yet. A few months ago, my four-year old and I hit the National Museum of Natural History, followed by lunch at Old Ebbitt’s and then a full afternoon in the National Air & Space Museum.
It was a nice touristy afternoon for this self-described native that we’re sure to repeat as soon as possible.
Anyway, here’s a fun fact about our nation’s history: Back when the Continental Congress was figuring out where to locate the permanent capital, a little down in Pennsylvania called Wright’s Ferry decided to lobby for the gig. Figuring its location along the banks of the mighty Susquehanna River that separates York and Lancaster counties was perfectly located and easy for delegates from the other colonies, Wright’s Ferry challenged for the privilege to be capital.
First things first… Wright’s Ferry had to do something about its name. It needed something catchy or something that befit a burgeoning nation. Therefore, in 1789 Wright’s Ferry changed its name to Columbia.
Perfect, huh? With a name like Columbia, how could the little town on the western edge of Lancaster County go wrong?
People of influence on its side like George Washington? Check.
Name? Done, done, done and done.
Nevertheless, southern states Maryland and Virginia carved out a rectangle of unwanted swamp land along the Anacostia and Potomac rivers not too far from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Next thing the folks in Columbia, Pa. knew the District of Columbia had edged it out by one vote and the rest is history.
Some influence that George Washington had, huh?
Anyway, since it had the name and the location, Columbia attempted to become the capital of Pennsylvania. Again, it had the location, the name but maybe not the influential supporters. Instead, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania went with the more centrally located Harrisburg to be the seat of its government.
Since then, Columbia became most well known for burning down the bridge connecting it to Wrightsville in York County (called the Wright's Ferry bridge - picture above) to ward off the approaching Confederate Army in 1864. As a result of this act, the Confederates and Union armies got together in Gettysburg for one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.
And perhaps once again, Columbia missed out on centuries worth of historical fame.
Otherwise, all is quiet here in The District as the trading deadline looms. Oh sure, the rumors are flying around like crazy with all sorts of interesting names. Suffice it to say, those names belong to left-handed relief pitchers.
But rumors are the domain of the weak-willed who cannot find the truth. If we can be called anything it must be that we are seekers of truth here at the little web site that could (be ignored).
Therefore, we will arrogantly tell you, the reader, to go elsewhere to learn about Ron Mahay, John Grabow, Brian Tallet, Jesse Carlson, Jack Taschner, Brian Fuentes, George Sherrill or anyone else.
I’m not saying anything.
But I will say that Shane Victorino had a good time joking about his chances of sticking with the Phillies past the July 31 trading deadline. As the digital clock in the clubhouse here at the soon-to-be named Exxon (Nationals) Park rolled over to 5 p.m., Victorno shouted that he had 47 hours to go until the deadline.
The clock is ticking.