He's soft-spoken and reserved, so the subtleties of Lucas Duda often go unnoticed. Mets fans are aware of Duda the ballplayer, the towering blond first baseman with a penchant for slugging. But the man underneath the blue and orange? That side of him had yet to be exposed . . . until now.
Thanks to the efforts of Curtis Granderson, John Mayberry Jr. and Danny Muno, WeFollowLucasDuda is an account on Instagram that has quickly garnered a sizable following. Duda has become a fan favorite in Flushing, so the trio has responded by posting candid photos of him during daily activities.
"I've seen it," Duda said. "I'm like a hippopotamus. They try to catch me in the wild when I'm doing stuff."
Pure, unadulterated Duda. No fabricated or artificial photos here -- all of the shots are taken in context. "I get dressed. I eat food. I walk to my car," Duda said. "Yeah, that's stuff I usually do on a daily basis."
The account amassed more than 14,000 followers in 24 hours.
"I tweeted it out," Mayberry said. "I thought he might have broken the Internet with the rapid following that he's got."
As followers begin to snowball, Granderson has gone into all-out campaign mode. His last three posts on Instagram have been promoting the account. "Two big wins for us today! Including getting @wefollowlucasduda over 10K followers," Granderson captioned his latest Instagram post after the Mets' 5-3 win over the Diamondbacks on Sunday. "Thanks everyone, now we need to get it to 20K during the All-Star break."
It all began during a down moment before Saturday's Mets game. Granderson, Mayberry and Muno were sitting around and chatting in the clubhouse.
"How'd we come up with it? I don't have a clear-cut answer for you," Mayberry said. "We were just sitting there, talking, laughing. Figured it would be kind of fun to get Duda an Instagram. Next thing you know, we've taken a couple of paparazzi photos."
Added Muno: "I guess we were just kind of bored. Wanted something to do."
Each photo posted on the account offers a small window into how Duda ticks -- chicken fingers and salad for lunch, all smiles during batting practice, Duda getting into his Mercedes after a ballgame. Basically, Duda in his element.
"We're just having fun with it," Muno said.
Duda enters the break with homers in two of his last three games -- this after an 18-game homerless streak. WeFollowLucasDuda provided exclusive insight into how Duda turned it around: a photo of him in front of five pieces of red velvet cake.
"The key to homers is red velvet," Granderson captioned the photo.
Duda is (mildly) amused by the trio's efforts. "Couple of jerks," he said with a smile.
Now that Duda has caught on, candid photos won't be easy layups. Still, Mayberry is confident that this is only the beginning.
"He's a little bit more aware of it now," he said, "but we'll figure out some sly ways to keep it going."