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The story behind new Oriole Travis Snider's interesting Twitter handle

Travis Snider has a love for eating, which might make him fit in quite well in the Orioles clubhouse.
Travis Snider has a love for eating, which might make him fit in quite well in the Orioles clubhouse. (Gene J. Puskar / AP)

I had the opportunity to speak with new Orioles outfielder Travis Snider by phone on Wednesday. During our conversation, I had to sneak in a question about Snider's Twitter handle, @LunchboxHero45, which has to be one of the most creative I've seen.

Snider, who grew up about 20 minutes north of Seattle, said the story dates back to his first year of high school, when he made the varsity football team as a freshman. He said back then he was about the same size he is now, 6 feet tall and 225 pounds, and after one game, he impressed his older teammates with his ability to put down a lot of food.

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"The older kids took me to Taco Bell one night after the game, and I put on a display," Snider said. "I think I ate about $35 worth of Taco Bell, which anybody who has been to Taco Bell knows that's ridiculous and kind of disgusting. After that, the older group of guys, they kind of took me under their wing and told me at that point, 'Your nickname's the lunchbox.'

"When I got into Twitter about five years ago, I wanted to go with a handle that would be fun, be a little different than @TheRealTravisSnider," said Snider, who noted that he was making himself breakfast while talking. "I have a passion for food -- good food. I love to cook. … For me, that's something that when I come home in the offseason, a big part of my offseason is watching football and having people over for barbeques and evolving my culinary skills. Now that I'm married, my wife does most of the cooking, but I still love to get behind the grill and have fun with that. ... I'm known for my steaks."

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I told Snider that he should get along well with Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who loves to eat, often shares his meals on social media and has created his own unique brand with the double-meaning #StayHungry hashtag he's used over the past several years.

"Jonesy and I, let's put it this way, we've flirted on Twitter over different meals we've had," Snider chuckled. "Having played against him for a few years when I was in the [AL] East and over the past few years in spring training, having the chance to say hi to him and [talk about] food and the meals we've had, I'm looking forward to sharing a meal with him."

In fact, when Snider learned he was returning to the American League, he quickly checked the Orioles schedule to see when the team was playing in Seattle this year so he could plan a cookout at home for all his teammates.

"That's typically the time I have to have teammates come up to my house and we do a big barbeque here," Snider said. "One of my old Little League coaches and a second father to me, he works for a wholesale meat company so he brings over some of the finest red meat available to the public and over the years I've been spoiled to eat this incredible beef on a regular basis. For me, that's kind of where I fell in love with cooking and since then it's evolved from just barbeque to the crock pot, to the oven, to the electric smoker. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it."

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eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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