Wily Mo Pena is rapidly turning into one of my favorite Red Sox players. He appears to have been created in a laboratory somewhere in the Dominican Republic by scientists who had no ethical qualms about taking a four year-old and pumping him full of Martian DNA, veterinary supplements, and arroz con pollo.
Wily Mo won last night's game against Baltimore by hitting a towering grand slam that probably triggered alarms at NORAD. His demeanor during the resultant trip around the bases resembled that of a fat kid in elementary school who just whaled a home run in kickball. The entertainment value of the whole 30 seconds or so was off the charts. I almost wore out both my TiVo clicker and my fiancee's patience re-watching it.
That's why we here at the GRBG have decided that even the three names bestowed on Wily Mo Pena by his parents are insufficient to fully describe his awesomeness. A nickname of some sort is in order. We'll put forward a couple of possibilities that are floating around out there. Vote early and often on your favorite, and I'll start campaigning for it to be used by the gang at SoSH (who, incidentally, came up with my favorite nickname ever, re-christening Mark Bellhorn "Bartleby" for his habit of "prefering not to" swing at nearly every pitch that came his way). Feel free to suggest others as well. Onwards.
This one is probably the most obvious. Like Pedro Cerrano, the slugger from Major League, Wily Mo very much hit straight ball, but his bat is scared of curve ball. At press time there was no word whether Wily Mo's dinger last night was prefaced by a formal rejection of his ancestors' voodoo god, but logic almost demands that such a rejection in fact took place.
Pros: Kind of looks like Cerrano; nickname would pay proper homage to what many consider to be the best Charlie Sheen/Corbin Bernson movie ever made.
Cons: Could lead Wily Mo into a second career as a fictional President of the United States. While I don't deny the entertainment value inherent in that, it would probably distract Wily Mo from his slugging.
I've seen this one floated in a couple of different places. The hook is the Wily/Wile E. pun, so you see where they're coming from. Also, as noted above, Wily Mo's emotional age appears to have been stunted at around 8 or so, probably as a side effect of the Dominican scientific communities actions as described above, so the Looney Tune seems appropriate.
Pros: Wile E. Coyote is awesome. When Ang and I take over the world and the GRBG is transformed into our version of Pravda, we will immediately publish a strip showing Wile E. catching, cooking, consuming, and excreting that hot-dogging roadrunner. Beep beep that.
Cons: In the current version of reality, Wile E. is kind of a loser. Wily Mo shouldn't be saddled with negative karma like that. Also, it seems kind of mean to assign the "Super Genius" label to Wily Mo, because he might think we seriously believe his IQ is above 180--there doesn't appear to be a real deep understanding of irony there. "Super Genius" might work better on a player who is dumb, but knows it, and is therefore in on the joke. Jon Papelbon, we are looking in your direction.
"Di-di Mao Pena"
This is what I've taken to screaming at the TV when Wily Mo does something good. It comes from the russian roulette scene in The Deer Hunter, where Christopher Walken and Robert De Niro exchange the tick-iest line deliveries in in the history of the Western cinema. Facing Wily Mo is a pitcher's equivalent of russian roulette: the majority of the time you'll win by striking him out, but the occasional losses tend to be painful.
Pros: "Di-di Mao Pena" retains the wonderful cadence of Wily Mo's given name. Phrase used in an episode of The Simpsons, which is always good for bonus points. Fun to yell "di-di mao!" at the screen when Wily Mo comes to the plate.
Cons: Well, shit, it comes from a russian roulette scene in a movie about the Vietnam War. Not exactly the feel-good cultural reference of the year. Reference is probably dated at this point.