BOSTON — The rapid escalation of the Legend of Sam Fuld was best measured Tuesday in text messages, e-mails and posts on Facebook and Twitter.
And a series of interview requests from ESPN on down.
The day after the New Hampshire native's smashing Fenway Park debut proved more challenging, in a way, than getting the four extra-base hits and making the diving catch.
"It's overwhelming," Fuld said. "It's a great feeling, but it is kind of overwhelming."
He was inundated enough by hundreds of texts, e-mails and Facebook messages. "I heard from a lot of people I haven't heard from in a long time," Fuld said. "I didn't realize the game was ESPN, so it was kind of like the perfect storm. It was great."
Then by mid afternoon, he was made aware of the heavy traffic on Twitter, where there were more than 1,000 posts of one-liners in testament to his awesomeness, along the lines of Chuck Norris and Tim Tebow jokes. There also were accounts opened under the name LegendofSamFuld and in his name. (Fuld hadn't used Twitter yet but said he probably would now.)
He also made a previously scheduled appearance at the Bosox Club luncheon and got a warm reception there, too.
Fuld didn't celebrate much, visiting a bit with his parents and others of 30 friends and relatives on hand, then going back to help his wife, Sarah, put their 1-year-old son, Charles, to bed.
He had another large group in the stands on Tuesday and went 1-for-4 with three catches. Plus he stole a base, answering his mom Amanda's lone "complaint" about Monday.
"I've been on Cloud 9 really just since getting here," he said. "It's been a dream come true to play here period. And to have a night like that, it's been awesome."
SHORTSTOP SHUFFLE: Elliot Johnson started at short with Boston starting LHP Jon Lester, and it sounds like manager Joe Maddon will go with more of a platoon with Reid Brignac (hitting .227) than first planned.
"Part of it is that Elliot Johnson has done so well and there is no reason to really push Reid on the lefties as much," Maddon said. "We've been seeing a lot of righties, we're going to see a lot more righties so he's going to still have the preponderance of play. … As Reid gets a little more proficient against lefties I might throw him back out there."
Johnson, a switch-hitter, has started two of the three games against lefties.
FINE TIME: Maddon was fined $500 for his entertaining tirade leading to his Sunday ejection, the minimum amount and with no further discipline. "I thought it was fair," Maddon said.
IN PRAISE OF CARL: Red Sox LF Carl Crawford received his 2010 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards on the field before the game, and Maddon said he was glad the Rays were on hand for the ceremony.
"The fact he did it as a Ray is very important,'' Maddon said. "And even though he's going to accept it in a different uniform, I'll remember it for what he did for us last year."
MEDICAL MATTERS: 3B Evan Longoria's recovery from his strained left oblique is "moving along pretty good," Maddon said, but it will still be late April before he returns to the lineup. That allows for three full weeks on the disabled list, plus "a couple of games somewhere (in the minors) to get going again."
LHP J.P. Howell, recovering from shoulder surgery, will throw the first of three planned batting practices today in Port Charlotte then start a minor-league rehab, shooting for a mid May return.
MANNY MATTER: Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci writes on Manny Ramirez in the upcoming issue, calling him "a major figure in what will go down as one of the greatest eras of slugging — and the dirtiest — the game has ever known."
MISCELLANY: David Price had an ice pack on his right buttocks, where he was hit by Adrian Gonzalez's liner, but said he was fine. … Rain is expected all day today in the Boston area. … If played, the game is on Fox Sports Florida due to the Lightning playoff opener. … Bullpen C Scott Cursi, a lifelong Penguins fan, said the losses of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are too great and picks the Lightning to win in six games.