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Monday, January 24, 2005; Page D02

If you build it, they will blog.

Now that the national pastime has found its way back to the nation's capital, a bevy of bloggers has sprouted up to document the occasion and, mostly, slam General Manager Jim Bowden and the newly acquired Esteban Loaiza.

"Trader Jim," as he is known, already is unpopular within the Nationals' blogosphere. "BallWonk hopes Trader Jim is able to parlay his interim appointment as Nationals GM into a full-time team-running gig," he wrote at www.ball-wonk.com. "BallWonk just hopes that Trader Jim finds his permanent job with another team."

The mood isn't much different over at Nationals Pastime (www.dchardball.blogspot.com): " 'E Lo' is signed. . . . If we weren't already the laughingstock of the statistically inclined baseball world, we are now!"

That's some tough love. But isn't that the point of blogs -- to celebrate and denigrate? As BallWonk put it: "This is not a site for rigorous statistical analysis or disinterested scholarship. This is a site for blatant partisanship and outright bias."

There are other, non-bloggy Nationals Web sites, including the official MLB site at www.nationals.com. Among the features: a countdown clock (only 22 days 22 hours 41 minutes 29 seconds until pitchers and catchers report) and predominantly uncritical stories about the team. There's also www.bradwilkerson.net, the official site of, you guessed it, Nationals outfielder-first baseman Brad Wilkerson ("the best thing to come out of Kentucky since bourbon," according to www.distinguishedsenators.blogspot.com). The site has a rather clunky layout, but there's a message board to talk all things Brad and a biography. Among the tidbits gleaned: Wilkerson was "the dominant soccer player for his age group in Owensboro, Ky.," and he was "the first player in college history to hit 20 home runs, steal 20 bases and win 10 games as a pitcher in the same year."

So we've got that going for us, which is nice.

-- Matt Bonesteel

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