HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve is aware his body has been turned into a unit of measure, and he's totally OK with that.
"It's funny, man," he said. "When they told me how many Altuves was a home run, I just laughed."
There is a Web site for this. It is howmanyaltuves.com, and the concept is simple: You enter the measurement of something in feet, and it converts it to Altuves, based on the height of the Houston Astros 5-foot-5 second baseman.
The center field wall in Minute Maid Park, for example, is 80.41 Altuves from home plate. The site's creator, a Greenville, S.C. accountant named Bryan Trostel, is 1.03 Altuves tall.
"I would not tower over Jose," he said, "which is really a big reason I'm not playing anymore."
Trostel is a native Houstonian and an Astros junkie. He watches every game he can and follows the team on a daily basis via the Internet. He used to write game recaps for a Web site that covers the Astros minor league system. He's been familiar with Altuve for years, and saw him hit a home run during a minor league game in Greenville.
"That caught my attention to see this little guy hit a laser," he said, "opposite field, no less. Ever since then I've been following him."
The second game of Houston's series against the Colorado Rockies earlier this week, the broadcasters mentioned a home run being mentioned in Altuves.
"It kind of clicked with me, and I wondered if maybe I'd be able to set up just a quick little calculator, really just thinking for myself and the few Twitter followers I have," he said "Once I did it, I shared it with the 100 or so people that follow me pretty regularly, and it just seemed to take off from there."
Trostel's Twitter account is now called @HowManyAltuves, and he has nearly doubled his follower count in less than a week. The site got more than 6,000 page views in the first 24 hours of its existence.
It was an overnight sensation, not entirely unlike its namesake. Altuve's diminutive frame and team-leading batting average have earned the 22-year-old a handful of nicknames and inspired a lot of hope in a city that wasn't expecting much out of its baseball team this year.
He doesn't mind people having fun with his height.
"It doesn't bother me," Altuve said.