Turner enjoys connecting with fans on Twitter
Second baseman among Mets players to embrace social media
DETROIT -- For about a year before joining the Mets, Justin Turner maintained a Twitter account, but stayed relatively idle on the service. He followed about 100 people, mostly to keep up to date on some of his interests: baseball, music and the Los Angeles Lakers, to name a few. He rarely tweeted, and had only a few dozen followers.
Then came Spring Training, Turner's first with the Mets following a midseason trade to the organization in 2010. One spring day, as Turner continued to battle for an Opening Day roster spot, catcher Josh Thole forwarded his new teammate's Twitter handle, @redturn2, to the masses.
"And then it just blew up," Turner said.
Now playing nearly every day for the Mets, Turner boasts more than 4,500 followers and estimates he adds a few dozen each day, reading fan comments and often responding to their questions. He also uses the service to keep in touch with friends and former teammates.
One of four Mets players currently active on Twitter, Turner is the only one to tweet primarily in English. (The others, Johan Santana, Francisco Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran, split their messages between English and Spanish.)
Like so many professional athletes, he enjoys the connection.
"I like it," Turner said. "I try to get on there once or twice a week and answer questions."
As social media continues to evolve, Twitter has taken on different forms for different Mets. There is Santana, who uses the service to greet fans, and sometimes to deliver updates on his rehabilitation from left shoulder surgery. There is Rodriguez, who tweets mostly in Spanish but occasionally addresses his fans in English. There is Beltran, who tweets sporadically, mostly about his charitable foundation. There is Thole, who was active on Twitter before quitting earlier this season due to excess criticism from fans.
And then there is Turner, who answers fan questions and tweets regularly about the team.
As far as Major League teams go, the Mets are a social media rarity, with relatively few players active on the service. Some, such as injured first baseman Ike Davis, have said they want no part of Twitter or any other social media entity.
But that may soon change, with many of the team's top prospects tweeting to their family, friends and fans throughout the Minor Leagues. The team's public relations department has also embraced the service at the handle @NewYorkMets, regularly tweeting links and statistics, providing ballpark information and answering fan questions.
It is the current landscape of communications, the Mets know, and many of them are beginning to embrace it.