The Real Problem with Willy Mo Peña

Lost amid the all-star headlines yesterday was the news that the Washington Nationals’ beleaguered left fielder Wily Mo Peña was likely headed to the disabled list.

Wearing Teddy's Number 26, Wily Mo Pena grounds into a double play.  Flickr photo by MissChatter.The 26-year-old would-be slugger might very well be the biggest disappointment for the Nationals in a season choc full of disappointments. Touted as an everyday middle-of-the order power hitter when GM Jim Bowden acquired him from Boston, Peña has instead hit an embarrassing .205 this season with just two home runs and 10 RBI.

Now an MRI has revealed that Peña has been playing with a small tear in his left rotator cuff and a frayed labrum in his left shoulder, something the Nationals should have diagnosed much earlier. Bowden pointed to this discovery as “certainly the main reason” that Peña has not performed, but just to be safe, may I suggest that the Nationals made another mistake that could be affecting Wily Mo’s play.

Teddy Roosevelt Jersey T-Shirt Number 26When the Nationals brought Peña here from the Red Sox, they changed his uniform number from 22 to 26, the number previously worn by pitcher Ramon Ortiz.

Surely Wily Mo asked for the number he’d worn while with the Cincinnati Reds, but if he’d been paying attention, he might have noted that the #26 is already owned by the most cursed member of the Nationals for the last 3 seasons: Teddy Roosevelt.

In an organization that has had more than it’s share of bad luck, Teddy has easily been the most snakebitten of all. Until Teddy’s run of bad luck clears up, the organization might think about keeping #26 set aside just for him.

My advice to Wily Mo: Rest that shoulder, and when you come back, ask for a new number.

Photo of Wily Mo Peña courtesy of Nationals blogger Miss Chatter.

Lincoln unfazed as Uncle Slam joins the presidents race.

For the Washington Nationals’ last game before the All Star break, the team today welcomed Potomac Nationals mascot Uncle Slam to Nationals Park to cheer on the team and participate in the Nationals presidents race for the first time. Unfortunately for Teddy fans, the extra competition did nothing to slow down a juggernaut called Abe Lincoln.

Potomac Nationals Mascot Uncle SlamFor those unfamiliar with Uncle Slam, he is the mascot for the Washington Nationals’ Class A minor league affiliate Potomac Nationals, which play just a short drive down I-95 in Prince William County Virginia. It was a timely appearance. With the Nationals away until July 29, the next two weeks are the perfect time to check out some of your future Nationals at intimate Pfitzner Stadium. The current roster includes such top prospects as pitcher Ross Detwiler and first baseman Chris Marrero, and rehabbing Nationals such as Ryan Wagner. Even Ryan Zimmerman is expected to get two rehab starts next week with the P-Nats.

As for the presidents race, Teddy came out in front and was followed by Uncle Slam, but as has become so common this season, Abe Lincoln turned on the afterburners to pass everybody before they reached the finish line. Abe’s seventh straight victory marks a first-ever homestand sweep of the presidents race. Teddy, Tom, and George all need to hit the training room over the all star break if they are to have any hope of catching Abe this season. Maybe Teddy should ask Abe what he’s been eating for breakfast.

Photo: Scott Ableman

Abe goes for homestand sweep Sunday at Nationals Park

Washington Nationals fans filled the stands Saturday night to watch pitcher Collin Balester’s inauspicious Nationals Park debut vs. the Houston Astros.

Despite the home team’s recent string of misfortune, it’s good to see the weekend crowds consistently topping 30,000 regardless of opponent. Great weather has certainly helped, and by now Washingtonians are figuring out that parking at Nationals Park is easy and getting to the stadium is a piece of cake whether driving or taking Metro.

Abe Lincoln extended his presidents race winning streak on Saturday at Nationals ParkUnfortunately Saturday night’s presidents race offered no drama for Teddy fans. Abe Lincoln remains on a tear and showed no signs of letting up, chasing Thomas Jefferson from behind and taking the lead in the stretch to keep his streak alive. Teddy Roosevelt did not appear to even try.

Sunday marks the last game before the All Star break and Teddy’s last chance at presidents race glory for several weeks. If Abe wins, it would be his 7th straight and a first-ever presidential sweep of an entire homestand. Somebody’s got to stop him. Why not Teddy? The weather should be good and tickets are available, so Teddy fans — I hope to see you all cheering him on tomorrow at Nationals Park!

Photo by flickr member afagen

Teddy runs the wrong way, Abe takes 5th straight.

Tonight’s sunset over the Anacostia River turned the sky a beautiful shade of pink over the left field wall at Nationals Park.

Perhaps that’s why Teddy Roosevelt chose to run in that direction after taking the field for the 4th inning presidents race.

As George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abe Lincoln raced along the right field warning track, Teddy headed left and never made it to the finish line, stopping to engage a ball girl along the way.

Back across the field, Abe was making quick work of George and Tom, bursting ahead to extend his winning streak to 5 straight (and skipping across the finish line), and with only two games to go before the all-star break, raising the possibility of a first-ever homestand sweep of the presidents race.


Video by YouTube member SchwartzVideo

Video of Last Night’s Presidents Race

From Vimeo member Ed, here’s a new video of last night’s T-Shirt Tuesday presidents race in which Teddy took a huge lead, but suffered a wardrobe malfunction near the finish line:

Teddy Nearly Steals T-Shirt Tuesday Victory from Abe

It was free T-Shirt Tuesday tonight at Nationals Park, and the stands were filled with 10,000 Nationals fans wearing free Abe Lincoln t-shirts.

Based on the results from the previous T-Shirt Tuesdays, Abe had to be the prohibitive favorite to run away with tonight’s presidents race, but when the middle of the 4th inning arrived, it was #26 Teddy Roosevelt who jumped out to the big lead, which he extended as he rounded the warning track into the home stretch along the first base line.

But as Teddy approached the finish line, he lost his shoe, tripped and fell. Abe came charging from behind and hurdled over Teddy to claim his 24th presidents race victory this season.

George, Tom, and Abe have now all held serve on their free T-Shirt Tuesdays at Nationals Park. Unfortunately we have to wait another month for Teddy’s big night. Let’s hope his shoes are tied tight on August 12.

Abe’s T-Shirt Tuesday Kicks Off Nationals Homestand

Tuesday night the Washington Nationals return to town to face the Diamondbacks and Astros in a couple of series that promise great weather, light summer traffic, and some big promotions at Nationals Park.

The Nationals are in need of some home cooking after a brutal week which netted as many devastating injuries as team victories. For loyal Nats fans, it seems like an eternity since Nationals Park was packed and rocking for the team’s last home series against the Baltimore Orioles.

Washington Nationals Racing President Abe Lincoln at Nationals ParkRegular readers don’t need to be reminded that this is Abe Lincoln’s T-shirt Tuesday. The first 10,000 fans to enter Nationals Park on Tuesday will receive a free Washington Nationals Abraham Lincoln T-Shirt. Given his recent record, it’s doubtful that Abe needs any help to win the presidents race, but it should be noted that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson won on their free t-shirt nights, so the pressure is now squarely on Abe.

The homsetand will also feature Friday night fireworks, Hispanic Heritage night, and another free movie Saturday night after the game on the Nationals Park HD scoreboard. As for the presidents race, it’s hard to imagine how our racing presidents could top the excitement of the last homestand. After a week that featured kangaroos, president-on-president violence, sabotage, grudge matches, and an “unsanctioned” victory by Teddy Roosevelt, it was good to get a week off. I’m assuming that Teddy has gotten over it as well and will not be working with the grounds crew on Tuesday.

Photo by flickr member jsmjr

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