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

I’m sick about Teddy and I need your help!

Nationals Park will be rockin’ with Teddy Roosevelt supporters tonight, which is why I am beside myself that I can’t be there. I’ve been sick at home, hoping to recover, but it’s clearly not happening.

Washington Nationals Teddy vs. the Baltimore Orioles BirdTonight is the grudge match — an “unsanctioned” race between Teddy Roosevelt and Baltimore’s Bird in the middle of the 4th inning of tonight’s “Battle of the Beltways” at Nationals Park. The challenge was issued by Teddy after The Bird tripped him in the home stretch of last night’s presidents race.

I really have a feeling that Teddy’s going to win this thing, and I want to be there to witness him cross the finish line a legitimate winner. The game should be a sellout. Imagine 42,000 fans cheering Teddy across the finish line and putting the Baltimore Oriole to shame.

Washington Nationals racing president Teddy Roosevelt. There are so many questions. Will there be an actual presidents race, or will there only be this “unsanctioned” showdown? What tricks does Teddy have up his sleeve for The Bird? Will Teddy win? If he doesn’t, will the fans ever let That Bird back into Nationals Park?

Sadly, I have to watch from home. I’m counting on all of you to cheer for Teddy, and to be the eyes and ears of the presidents race blog. Wear your Teddy t-shirts and wave your Teddy signs. Bring your cameras and camcorders and share the results tonight. Most of all, have fun! Go Nats! Go Teddy!

Teddy Blows Relay Race vs. Pierogies in Pittsburgh

A change of venue momentarily appeared to have been the key to Teddy Roosevelt’s first victory, but the bull moose blew it on the road last night in Pittsburgh.

Washington Nationals' racing presidents Teddy and Tom with racing pierogie Jalapeno Hanna at PNC ParkAs expected, the Washington Nationals racing presidents made their first road trip with the team to appear with the racing pierogies at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ PNC Park.

The series kicked off last night with a relay race pitting Pittsburgh’s own racing pierogies vs. Washington’s racing presidents. George Washington led off the race for the presidents and handed off to speedster Abe Lincoln who, in typical fashion, sprinted ahead of the field, ensuring a solid lead for racing president Thomas Jefferson to hand to anchor runner Teddy Roosevelt for the final leg.

That’s where it fell apart.

Instead of running straight down the first base line for the easy victory, Teddy mugged for the crowd and started up the ramp in right field corner. Those precious wasted seconds were all that was needed for the racing pierogies to steal back the lead. Teddy figured it out too late, making a run for the finish line but falling short of Jalapeno Hanna, who gave the racing pierogies the win.

Photo courtesy of Angela Calo

Nationals T-Shirt Tuesday Schedule Set

The Washington Nationals have finalized which Tuesday home games will feature free t-shirts with images of the racing presidents.

The promotion is part of T-Shirt Tuesdays, in which the first 10,000
fans to arrive at Tuesday night home games at Nationals Park receive a
free t-shirt courtesy of a Washington Nationals’ sponsor company.

All of the racing president’s T-Shirt Tuesdays are sponsored by tickets.com.

Thomas Jefferson will be featured
on T-Shirt Tuesday, June 3rd against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Abe Lincoln will be featured on T-Shirt Tuesday, July 8th against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Finally, Teddy Roosevelt will be featured on T-Shirt Tuesday, August 12 against the New York Mets.

Our first president had his big day last Tuesday against the Philadelphia Phillies, when fans received a free t-shirt with George Washington on the back and the phrase “Who’s Your Founding Father?”

George won the presidents race on his night. Coincidence? I can’t say, but if Tom and Abe win on their t-shirt Tuesdays, I’ll be circling August 12 on my calendar.

Since When Was Cheering Unprofessional?

New York Mets losing pitcher Nelson Figueroa, after last night’s 10-4 defeat at the hands of the Washington Nationals, called the Nationals players — led by Elijah Dukes — “truly unprofessional” for cheering loudly from the visitor’s dugout at Shea Stadium.

“They were cheerleading in the dugout like a bunch of softball girls,” Figueroa, said. “I take huge offense to that. If that’s what a last-place team needs to do to fire themselves up, so be it. I think you need to show a little bit more class, a little bit more professionalism. They won tonight, but again, in the long run, they are who they are.”

Yes Nelson, and the Mets have reminded us who they are as well. Last off-season, Lastings Milledge was run out of town by his Mets teammates for such unprofessional behavior as high-fiving after making a big play. I think I’ll take a team full of young, enthusiastic players who never quit when they’re down over a bunch of overpaid underachievers who choke in the stretch and point fingers afterwards.

Am I wrong? Since when was cheering for your team unprofessional?

Photo by flickr user tagvestibule

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