Brewers see benefits of social media

Brewers see benefits of social media

MILWAUKEE -- It was a rare off-day that prompted center fielder Nyjer Morgan to log onto his Twitter account and ask for suggestions on how to spend his time.

Morgan uses his Twitter account (@TheRealTPlush) as an extension of his on-field alter ego, Tony Plush, who strives to entertain any chance he can. As soon as Morgan arrives at the ballpark, it's Plush who takes over, never failing to amuse teammates and fans with his quick wit and boundless energy.

On a breezy Thursday in late June, it was Plush's Twitter account that garnered a lot of attention as he fielded requests about how to spend his day away from Miller Park.

"I just asked one of the nations, 'What can I do?'" Morgan recalled. "A lot of people wanted me to go play Wiffle ball and stuff like that, but the only one that seemed kind of reasonable was flying a kite."

"I wasn't too sure if the guy was really like, 'Go fly a kite' or, you know what I mean, 'Go fly a kite'. I didn't know what to get from it, so I just took it as, 'Let's go have fun with it, and let's go purchase a kite somewhere.'"

Morgan headed down to the lakefront, stopped at a local store called "Gift of Wings" and bought a kite that's designed like a shark, in honor of his favorite NHL team. The center fielder snapped a photo of himself grinning with the kite blowing in the wind.

Morgan shared the image with his followers, whom he affectionately calls P-Town Nation and Brew Crew Nation. He wasn't sure whether to name them Plush Nation, Plushminions or Plushmaniacs but simplified the name with the help of his followers.

Many Twitter users as well as national media outlets were surprised when Morgan followed through with an activity that was driven by a fan's suggestion. National Public Radio featured Morgan's off-day on its morning broadcast the next day.

"I actually had fun with it, since I hadn't flown a kite since I was a little boy, so that's why I did it," Morgan said with his kite tucked away behind him in his locker. "It's one of those things where it was pretty windy. I checked the wind, so why not fly a kite?"

Morgan said there is no telling what follower-driven suggestions he might do next and said he'd like to show up and surprise people at a Little League game. He said he's even open for dining recommendations and appreciated when a follower told him about Sil's Drive-Thru on the East Side of Milwaukee. Morgan stopped there for mini donuts after flying his kite.

Morgan, closer John Axford (@JohnAxford) and reliever LaTroy Hawkins (@Adidas219) are the only three Brewers players with verified Twitter accounts. Milwaukee's mascot, Bernie Brewer (@Bernie_Brewer), also has an account with more than 11,000 followers.

Unlike Morgan, who woke up one morning and decided to jump on Twitter, Hawkins said he did some research before joining. Hawkins uses it to communicate with other players in the league, including Torii Hunter, Dexter Fowler and, of course, Axford and Morgan.

"We've talked to each other about it, we've talked to Plush about it, and [it's important to] just be conscious of what you're saying because the whole world's going to see it," Hawkins said. "Just be conscious of that and remember that, because you can't take it back. You can explain yourself, but you can't take it back."

When Morgan steps up to the plate, Michael Jackson's "Wanna be Starting Something" blares out of the Miller Park speakers, but don't look for the center fielder to try to post anything controversial through his Twitter account any time soon.

"I'm trying to watch what I do on there," Morgan said. "But it's been fun."

Audrey Snyder is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.