Marlins' Morrison a big hit on Twitter
Logan Morrison says at first he thought Twitter was lame, although he uses a more colorful adjective because he's a 23-year-old ballplayer who's a fan of Dave Chappelle, and he talks like one.
He also tweets like one, to the amusement of thousands and the dismay of his team's top executive.
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Morrison gradually became hooked on Twitter and now has more than 26,000 followers. That total's impressive considering he's less than halfway through his first full season in the major leagues and plays for the Florida Marlins, a team unaccustomed to attention.
But the left fielder known as LoMo may lead the league in Web wisecracks. Few athletes are wittier on Twitter.
''It's amazing how many people take you seriously,'' he says. ''I don't take it seriously at all.''
That's what worries team president David Samson. The Marlins monitor tweets by all of their employees, and Samson says he has warned Morrison that his R-rated material could carry negative repercussions.
''I'm not a dinosaur,'' Samson says. ''But I'm not thrilled. It's very scary to me. I've told Logan, `People are waiting for you to make a mistake. They're going to bait you on Twitter to say something inappropriate that you can never take back.'
''It takes an entire career to build a reputation, and one tweet to lose it. As long as he understands that, it's fine.''
The site is (at)LoMoMarlins, and Morrison estimates the age of his audience at 15 and up. He says he'll tweet with asterisks on occasion but otherwise sees no need for self-censorship because kids are going to come across the language he uses somewhere else anyway.
''If you don't want to follow me, don't follow me,'' he says with a shrug.
Not all of his humor is of the clubhouse variety. Many LoMo tweets can be fun for the whole family.
''Bought a satellite dish,'' one recent posting reported. ''Guy told me Id get a TON of HD channels. Last time I buy anything in Publix parking lot.''
But Morrison also tweets about makin' whoopee, although he has yet to use that specific phrase. Other topics include body parts, the Miami Heat and humidity, odorous cabbies, the Philadelphia Phillies and the injury that sidelined Morrison in April.
''Breaking news: sprained ligament in my foot out 2 to 4 weeks,'' he tweeted. ''Told u fantasy people not to pick me up.''
Morrison cites no single source for his sense of humor. He says he enjoys Chappelle and funny movies and hanging out with people who like to laugh.
Word of his wit is gradually getting around the majors. His Twitter followers include Drew Storen of the Nationals, C.J. Wilson of Rangers, Brandon McCarthy of the Athletics and Peter Moylan of the Braves, as well as Paul Bissonnette of the NHL Phoenix Coyotes.
''Very entertaining,'' Storen says. ''LoMo does a great job at being pretty real. A lot of guys are pretty filtered.''
''He likes to re-tweet his followers with funny ones - make it a little bit like Will Ferrell,'' Wilson says.
Morrison says he's just being himself: a native of Kansas City, Mo., who grew up a Coast Guard brat, lost his father to lung cancer and is blessed with the ability to hit a major league curve.
''I'm a 23-year-old guy who has been through some stuff that most people haven't been through,'' he says. ''Not many people in my position have traveled and done a lot of the stuff I've done, even in my childhood with my dad being in the military. I went to three different high schools. That's the reason I am who I am today.''
Whether he's sitting at his locker, watching TV at home or eating at a restaurant, LoMo's liable to be tapping out a message on his iPhone. When asked if he would ever tweet during a game, Morrison hesitates before saying no.
''I think he has a slight addiction,'' teammate John Buck says.
Morrison engages in exchanges with fellow tweeps, unlike celebrity athletes who limit their tweeting to status reports on dinner plans and such. LoMo says he understands why famous Twitterers might dislike interacting with the not-famous, but he sees it as a chance to break down barriers and show he's a regular guy.
Morrison also freely concedes he's trying to promote himself. He began using Twitter before the 2010 season at the suggestion of his agent, Fred Wray, who saw it as a way to expand the LoMo brand.
''Twitter fit Logan,'' Wray says. ''It's an online conversation, and Logan likes to talk. He has the gift of gab.''
Soon after Morrison reached the majors last July, his followers outnumbered attendance at the typical Marlins home game.
''The main goal was to get my name out there and make me more money and bring more money to the causes I support, like the American Lung Association,'' Morrison says. ''In this market you've got to do things you wouldn't ordinarily do to get followers, and it's working.''
His late father's battle with lung cancer ended in December, and Morrison traded stories about the illness with others on Twitter. After he recovered from his foot injury, his auctioned cast sold for $1,500, with the money going to the lung association.
(at)LoMoMarlins adopted another cause: campaigning for Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez to make the All-Star team.
If not for Morrison's injury, he might be contender himself. After hitting .283 in 62 games as a rookie last year, this season he's a big part of the Marlins' surprising success, batting .322 with six home runs through Monday.
When it comes to Twitter popularity, Morrison can't rival Nick Swisher (1.3 million followers), Jose Canseco (394,000) or even Ozzie Guillen (143,000). But he figures the best way to gain ground on them is with base hits.
''Obviously the better I do, the more followers I'm going to get,'' he says. ''I'm sure it will be way up if I make an All-Star Game; it doesn't matter how original or funny I am on there.''
On that point, Morrison and the Marlins brass agree.
''I've told Logan,'' Samson says, ''no one will care about his tweets if they're coming from New Orleans.''
That's where the Marlins' Triple-A team plays.
Follow Steven Wine on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Steve-Wine