MLB Twitter Trends: The Legend of Sam Fuld, Tampa Bay's New Hero

John GreggContributor IIIApril 14, 2011

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 11:  Sam Fuld #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after he scored on a wild pitch against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park April 11, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Last Friday, the retirement of Manny Ramirez after another run-in with the MLB drug police left the Tampa Bay Rays organization and its fans reeling.

The night before, the team had won its first game of the season on a dramatic three-run homer from Dan Johnson. They were showing signs of turning things around after a horrific 0-6 start.

Ramirez's sudden and unexpected retirement put a damper on the celebration and left fans bitter, angry and wondering how the team was going to replace their clean-up hitter.

Enter Sam Fuld: the 29 year-old Jewish son of a New Hampshire state senator who never played regularly in the big leagues.

That was soon to change.

Fuld — who was acquired in the offseason with four other players in the Matt Garza deal with the Chicago Cubs — suddenly became a starter for the Rays in the wake of Manny's retirement.

It didn't take long for him to make a name for himself in Tampa Bay. Soon, he would be the buzz of the entire baseball world.

It had started the day before, when he swiped three bags as the leadoff hitter for the Rays in Thursday's 5-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

The next night, in the wake of the Manny Ramirez news, he was back at the top of the order.

But on Saturday, April 9, the legend of Sam Fuld was truly born.

If you haven't already seen the catch he made in right field that day, do yourself a favor and check it out.

It might be the catch of the year.

While the Rays' anemic offensive output continued, Fuld provided a much-needed spark in the leadoff spot.

In the field, Fuld's outstanding range and strong, accurate arm made people forget Carl Crawford.

With his name already on the lips of every Rays fan, he had a night for the ages on Monday in a nationally televised game against the Boston Red Sox on ESPN.

Having already collected a double, a triple and a home run, Fuld needed just a single to hit for the cycle.

On his next at-bat, he hit a ball into the left field corner.

Instead of pulling up at first base, he motored into second, choosing the integrity of the game over personal achievement, and cemented his place in Rays folklore.

It was Crawford — the former Ray — who fielded Fuld's double, which made the whole thing both ironic and poignant.

For me it was an iconic moment: the passing of the proverbial torch from a former Rays hero to a new one. 

Rays fans who hold Twitter accounts instantly got to work in proclaiming their affinity for the diminutive outfielder, and the hashtag #LegendofSamFuld began trending quickly.

I first noticed the hashtag being used on Friday after Fuld's amazing catch, when my Twitter account was blowing up with the birth of man-crushes right before my eyes.

By Monday, though, every Rays fan on Twitter was getting in on the action, and the legend of Sam Fuld began to permeate all of Twitter.

The legend of Sam Fuld #hashtag tweets works the same way as the famous Chuck Norris jokes.

From my own Twitter account @Raysinbanners (shameless plug): "When Sam Fuld met the Queen of England, she called him 'Your Highness.'"

It's good fun, and a lot of very witty people have tweeted some good stuff in honor of Fuld.

Here are a couple of funny ones that have been tweeted recently:

"Sam Fuld doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis."

From Rich Herrera, Rays radio post game host @richatthetrop: "Sam Fuld wears sunglasses to protect the sun from his eyes."

...and "I once saw Sam Fuld order a whopper at a McDonalds drive-thru, and when he got home his order was correct."

You get the idea.

There are literally thousands of them.

Even Fuld's manager Joe Maddon @RaysJoeMaddon is a fan of the tweets, posting this tweet on his account Monday:

"The legend of Sam Fuld tweets are so good. Love 'Superman wears Sam Fuld pajamas to bed' and 'USF being renamed University of Sam Fuld.""

Fuld seems to be joining in the fun himself. 

Marc Topkin @SPTimesRays St. Petersburg Times Rays beat writer tweeted this Wednesday:  "Fuld joking he couldn't stop the rain: "This is me washing my planet.'"

The legendary Sam Fuld has a great sense of humor too.

There is even a Legend of Sam Fuld Twitter account created by an industrious tweeter: @LegendofSamFuld

Seems like a must follow for #LegendofSamFuld enthusiasts.

To get in on the Sam Fuld love, use the hashtag #LegendofSamFuld in your tweets and start paying homage to the greatest outfielder on the face of the earth right now.


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