Twitter a polarizing topic in Mets' clubhouse

Twitter a polarizing topic in Mets' clubhouse

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Justin Turner's recruiting trip began in the middle of the Mets' clubhouse Tuesday morning, when he badgered backup catcher Mike Nickeas to join Twitter. Reliever Jon Rauch overheard the conversation and revealed that, after discussing the matter with his wife, he is considering joining.

"I think everyone should be on it," Turner said.

The Mets do not necessarily agree or disagree with that view. But given the growing popularity of Twitter within their clubhouse -- even general manager Sandy Alderson has an account -- they introduced a new wrinkle into their annual media training session Tuesday morning, giving Turner, R.A. Dickey and other Twitter users an opportunity to share their experiences.

For Turner, the Mets' most active tweeter, the service has given him an opportunity to interact directly with fans. After a minor news story broke last week that he is the team's backup first baseman, Turner tweeted a picture of his new first baseman's glove in response to a question from a fan.

"It's just reinforcement," said Turner, who spoke in favor of Twitter during the hour-long team meeting. "It reinforces the truth, and you can correct anything in the media that you don't like. And it's fun. It's fun to keep a pulse on what the fans like and what they don't like."

Though more than a dozen of the organization's Minor Leaguers are active on the service, many older Mets are not convinced. Catcher Josh Thole joined Twitter last spring, for example, but deleted his account three months later after receiving waves of threats and criticisms from fans.

"You couldn't pay me to do that again," Thole said. "Everybody's like, 'Oh, it's great.' OK. Go 0-for-12 and lose the game for the team and see how great it is."

The moderate view came from Dickey, who has effectively used Twitter to solicit sponsorships and raise awareness for his charitable endeavors in the past. Though Dickey enjoys Twitter and believes it can be an effective business tool, he is not as staunchly in favor of it as Turner.

Dickey recalls Mike Pelfrey recently asking about the service while the two pitchers dined at a local steakhouse. To prove a point, Dickey tweeted their location.

"Within 20 seconds, I had over 100 tweets, people saying everything," Dickey said, noting that some responses came from inside the restaurant. "I said, 'This is what you'll be up against if you join Twitter.' And he said, 'Yeah, that's not for me.'"