'Tis the season to get married

At home with ... Cole Hamels

At home with ... is a regular weekly feature of phillies.com.

In this season of giving, Phillies fans can be happy with the rookie season that Cole Hamels gave them. And, during this holiday season, the lanky left-hander won't just be merry, he'll be married.

Hamels and his fiancé have a New Year's Eve wedding date in the bride's hometown of St. Louis. Until then, Hamels is living in Philadelphia. It's a lot different from his hometown of San Diego, but he's enjoying everything about Philly.

"It's been great," Hamels said. "I've been fortunate to get to know the city better. I've attended a few charity events, and gotten to know what Philadelphia has to offer, so I can put in some time here outside of baseball and help the community when I have a chance."

Hamels has also had the opportunity to see what it's like to be a Philadelphia sports fan, and that includes spending a couple of Sundays across the street from Citizens Bank Park watching the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

"It was the best time ever," Hamels said. "There was lots of excitement, and they actually won the two games I went to, which made it even better."

He said watching the Birds play has reinforced his positive opinion of the Philly sports fans who cheer him on the mound.

"I know that when you're playing well the city will do anything for you, while it's a little tougher when you're struggling," Hamels said. "But they are behind you, because they definitely want to see you win."

To give himself the best chance of winning next year, the young lefty is working out regularly at the ballpark.

"I wasn't blessed with the strong man's syndrome, plus with the injuries I've dealt with, I don't want to ever be in that situation again," he said. "A lot of people are counting on me to succeed, and I know what I have to do this winter to succeed."

Hamels took a break from his conditioning to enjoy the holiday decorations and the toy train in the Phillies clubhouse. Being a natural procrastinator, he's proud to announce that all of his Christmas shopping is done.

"My fiancé plans ahead and was finished four months ago," he said. "I just wrapped things up this week, which for me is good."

While it is easy to make jokes about finding coal in his stocking, Hamels said video games are at the top of his list for Santa Claus.

"I open them up well before Christmas, so I can play them now," he said. "I guess I'll have to rewrap them for Christmas morning, so I can open them up again."

Cole also talked about his favorite gift as a kid growing up in sunny California.

"Growing up with the beach and boardwalk nearby," he said, "a bike or roller blades were the best thing ever."

Scott Palmer works for the Phillies. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.