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Miami Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison spends the morning of Valentine's Day 2012 at the nearly empty Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, the team's spring facility. He hits balls in a cage, sweats on a stationary bike, and works on stretching and strengthening his right knee. Morrison — who has been called stubborn, juvenile, and impatient but never lazy — underwent minor surgery on the knee in December, the result of a 2011 baseball season spent diving and slamming into outfield walls.
But on Twitter, the 24-year-old — or at least his virtual ID, @LoMoMarlins — is looking for love. "After much deliberation," he thumb-pecks to almost 100,000 followers, "I've added motor boating @sofiavergara to my bucket list."
Sofia Vergara, for the woefully unacquainted, is a zeppelin-breasted Colombian actress from the TV show Modern Family. Motorboating, according to Urban Dictionary, is "the placement of one's face, specifically the mouth, into the area between a well-endowed woman's breasts, followed by a rapid shaking of the face in a side-to-side motion accompanied by yelling."
Later he ruminates, "There are 3 certainties in life; Death, Taxes & I will trim my pubes on Feb 13th of every year."
He also announces that whichever of his female followers makes the best argument for being his Valentine will "get a signed ball from me (à la Derek Jeter)" — a reference to the report that the New York Yankees shortstop uses autographed memorabilia to bid au revoir to his one-night stands.
Then he reposts a photo of one of his female followers making out with another chick.
Over lunch after the morning workout, the muscular former Army brat complains about the coaches and teammates who loudly order him to put his phone away at the ballpark. "I've been here since 7:30 a.m. while you were still sleeping, bro," he tells these hypothetical foes. "I can tweet on the training table while I'm getting my knee massaged. So what? Want me to focus on getting my knee massaged?"
Last season, he paid a heavy price for his seemingly genetic inability to censor himself. A summerlong sports-section soap opera saw him criticize team owner Jeffrey Loria, dress down star shortstop Hanley Ramirez in the locker room, and poke fun at team President David Samson on Twitter. For those crimes against the regime, Morrison was demoted to the minors for ten days.
"I'll never forget it, but I'm over it," he says bitterly of the demotion. "You don't do something so drastic and want somebody to forget about it."
This week, the perennially skinflint and mostly anonymous Marlins officially move from a dingy, converted football stadium in Miami Gardens to their new, retractable-domed home in Little Havana. They play the world champion St. Louis Cardinals at 7:05 p.m. April 4.
The new Miami Marlins spent $191 million on some of the most expensive and loony personnel in the majors. Joining the rotation: human frowny face Carlos Zambrano, a pitcher arguably better-known for hurling fists and water coolers than baseballs. Poached from the ruins of the New York Mets: stealthy shortstop Jose Reyes, setting the stage for a clash with hometown all-star Hanley Ramirez.
To lead them? The totally unfiltered and usually nonsensical former White Sox manager, Ozzie Guillen, who once famously called a Chicago reporter a "faggot." Guillen has an active Twitter page of his own. As Logan tweeted: "I really hope Ozzies on-field instructions r easier 2 understand than his tweets. I literally have no idea what this dude is talking about."
To ensure the Marlins will be the Jersey Shore of our national pastime, the team has given complete access to camera crews for Showtime's reality series The Franchise.
For his part, Morrison is hoping Zambrano tosses around Gatorade coolers all summer. When it's remarked that the pitcher could be in the headlines every day, he shoots back, "Good. That way I won't be. I'm not an attention whore."
Morrison's iPhone rarely stops humming on the table in front of him as he downs a citrus chicken bowl at Burrito Bros., the surfer joint in Jupiter where he eats with his BFF Petey — Marlins backup outfielder Bryan Petersen — almost every day during spring training.
The roomies live in a rented condo a few minutes away. They carpool everywhere in Petey's Range Rover or Logan's late-model Toyota pickup. They spend the afternoons making goofy YouTube videos. You might have seen a still of them drinking red wine together in a bubble bath. At night, Petey reads Howard Zinn, blogs about sustainable eating, and edits film. Morrison tweets.
He is in a constant conversation with his Twitter army, having broadcast, at last count, 10,800 messages to 96,022 followers. Morrison might not yet be one of the league's elite ballplayers, but when it comes to Twitter stats, he's Babe Ruth. For example, two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay — sample tweet: "Happy Earth Day and remember to do your part and help the environment" — has only 8,000 followers. Even superstar Yankee Alex Rodriguez has just 48,000. Morrison's numbers are still dwarfed by sports' reigning king of acting a fool on Twitter, Chad Ochocinco, who has more than 3 million followers.