Life Beyond Baseball Meet Marlins Man
With an impressive resume of 94 World Series, 27 Super Bowls, 70 NBA Finals, 37 NCAA Championships and 6 Olympic games you might think this story is about a billionaire who jet sets around the country overindulging in his passion. Not necessarily.
This is a story about a man who was once homeless and living out of his car to now rock star fame. A man who has created a movement that changed the way we view sports. In reality it’s no longer about sports, it’s about something far greater. Do you know the name, Laurence Leavy? If you don’t know, that’s okay. But, mention the name “Marlins Man” and you immediately know he’s the guy in the bright orange Miami Marlin’s jersey.
How it all started.
In 2001, Leavy ended a 7-year relationship with a woman who had little to no interest in sports. With what would seem to be a limitless fund for such exploits, Marlins Man states that he is not married and has no children. However, I’m sure that there are plenty of prospects willing to become Marlin’s woman if the opportunity arises.
As sports lover growing up in Miami Beach, Leavy began buying tickets to Marlins, Dolphins, Hurricanes and Panthers games, promoting his law practice. With little interest from his clients, the majority of the tickets went unused and ultimately became a waste of money. Leavy started using his annual $300,000 sports budget to travel to major events and use the experience for himself.
Often when we least expect it, something happens that changes our lives forever. Sometimes there is a bridge between the haves and have nots. Leavy’s quest to create that bridge is quite evident in his actions. “I bring this diverse country together and it happened all by accident.” He refers to times he invites perfect strangers to sit with him at premier events throughout the country.
From obscurity to notoriety.
He proudly wore Marlins gear unnoticed until 2014. That October something changed. The Kansas City Royals had just eliminated the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Championship game. While attending the World Series in Kansas City, the Marlins Man’s seat was behind home plate, and clearly visible on national television. A representative from the Royals had come to Leavy’s seat and asked him to remove the jersey or change seats. As someone who has fought fierce battles in the courtroom, Marlins Man knew his rights as a spectator and stood firm. As it turns out, Marlins Man wouldn’t concede through the representative’s offered perks including signed bats, suite seats and other rewards for his cooperation. There was drama created because of the colors he wore. The Kansas City Royals felt the jersey colors looked more like the Baltimore Orioles and they didn’t like that. A turning point that started the Marlins Man phenomena.
As a sports fan, one might be jealous of a man who gets tickets to major events such as the World Series. But many don’t understand that Leavy’s law practice (he describes as “medium-sized”) has a staff of 37 supporting his travels to and from South Florida. “I’ve been knocked down too many times in my life, I’m not lucky, I made my luck,” he proudly states.
Because of his celebrity-like status, Marlins Man travels across the nation, inviting people of all walks of life to join him in attending games and sitting in seats that most could only dream. Leavy mentions, “I’m just a guy who is successful and I want to share with people.”
He recently returned to Kansas City after speaking to children in several schools. Having garnered the attention of his audience, he humbles himself while promoting a child’s true life heroes such as parents, police and firefighters. He’s not self-serving as he politely declines offer of free meals, trips, and other amenities that most would accept.
Leavy mentions an event in Times Square running into an ESPN reporter who asked him why he should interview a regular guy wearing an orange jersey. He asked the reporter to step outside onto the busy streets of Times Square. In less than 5 seconds, the reporter’s question had been answered.
How things have certainly changed. Marlins Man is not just about sports; he’s become a movement. He promoted the idea of paying it forward, by doing kind acts for others as he often does. He mentioned tonight he was inviting over 100 people to the premier of the new Star Wars movie. He states, “you go with strangers and you go home as friends.”
As we approach another baseball season, expect to see that bright orange Marlins jersey front and center on your television. Let’s hope that Leavy’s legacy is not remembered as a privileged man in the front row but rather as someone who brought smiles to the people he touched.
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