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The Nationals did everyone not related to him a favor by releasing punchless outfielder Wily Mo Pena yesterday. Wily Mo had surpisingly nice power numbers as a very young man in 2004 and 2005. By 2007, he was with the Nationals, and each day he was with the team the luster of his potential lessened until it was all gone, and it became worthwhile for the Nats to give him $2 million to get out and stay out -- not for nuthin' did his mama call him Wily. Add him to the list of Jim Bowden projects that are over with.
Everyone has their own special memories of Wily Mo, I know I sure do. Last May I was at a game, sitting pretty close to the Nationals' dugout, a few rows in front of a few drunkenly enthusiastic young ladies who were apparently pretty big Nationals fans, and were trying to get the attention of the players. Most of the players appeared not to notice, a couple gave a quick glance. They got Wily's full attention, though, as he spent a good part of several innings looking away from the field, in the direction of the ladies. Wily's success with these ladies was equal to his success on the field, though, as it soon became evident that the gals were asking him to get Ryan Zimmerman's attention for them. And he tried, but Zim professionally kept his eyes field-forward.
Good for Zim, bad for Wily, who never really seemed like he was in it for anything other than the money. And, he had hoped, the ladies.