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If They Don't Post It's a Shame

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"There are starting to be factions now," said Kriner, of the "Curly W" site. "Some of the bloggers have really been taking this to another level, seeking out interviews with Stan Kasten and Jim Bowden. I think it represents something of a sea change for us. . . .

"My view is that everyone has a very different motivation for why they write. People seem to get upset when other people suggest that they are somehow doing things incorrectly. But this blogging thing is changing, and you have to be cognizant that you're publishing something that people can read and react to."

Needham, 28, who grew up in Upstate New York, works on Capitol Hill and lives in Alexandria, started "Capitol Punishment" shortly after the announcement in September 2004 that the Montreal Expos would move to Washington. The Expos, he said, were "kind of a great fog." He did a lot of writing for his job as an analyst, and he wanted an outlet to learn about the team, do some more creative writing and, as he said, "avoid boring my girlfriend to tears."

More than two years later, he said, "Capitol Punishment" receives a few hundred page views per day in the offseason, perhaps 700 a day when news is happening during the season. The objective isn't terribly high-minded -- "I'm not afraid of the quick, cheap one-liner," Needham said -- but it is almost always amusing and analytical, mixing statistics with personal takes on the team's moves to go along with top 10 lists, suggestions for holiday gifts for team members, whatever comes to mind.

"Absolutely hilarious," Kasten said.

Late last month, Kasten sent Needham another e-mail saying simply, "Call me." The blogger, phone-to-phone with the president, whose words he had made a hobby of parsing. "He's an honest broker," Needham said. "But I had no idea what he wanted. I want to make a few jokes at his expense and not change."

So Needham called. Kasten's beef: Needham wasn't on the list to renew his partial season ticket plan. So no, "StanSpeak" did not die.

"It's pretty amazing to be able to do these sorts of things, to develop your voice and have people react, especially the people who run the team," Needham said. "It'll be interesting to see how that continues or where it would develop."


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