In a sea of blue at the World Series, a speck of orange popped out of the rabid Royals crowd behind home plate, in plain view of the TV cameras.
On the man’s shirt: “Marlins.”
The sight so rattled the home team that stadium officials asked him to leave — or at least cover up with a Kansas City Royals shirt.
“Marlins Man” — aka 58-year-old Miami lawyer Laurence Leavy —stayed put in Marlins colors Tuesday night in Kansas City.
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“The owner of the Royals was extremely upset that I was there,” Leavy said.
They offered him a private suite if he would move.
They tried enticing him with free World Series goodies if he would get rid of the orange jersey.
No way, Marlins Man said.
He paid $8,000 for that primo seat and he wasn’t about to give it up. So every time the center field camera was used, which was pretty much every single pitch, the orange-clad Leavy was in the frame for the entire country to see.
It wasn’t the first time that Leavy as stuck out in a crowd.
Leavy has been buying the best seats to major sporting events for years. By his count, he’s gone to 27 Super Bowls, more than 200 NBA playoff games, and at least 85 World Series games, not to mention an unknown number of Triple Crown horse races.
He’s been a Marlins season-ticket holder since the team’s first year in 1993, is a rabid Florida State fan (he was on hand for the FSU-Notre Dame showdown in Tallahassee on Saturday before heading off to Kansas City), owns more than 100 thoroughbreds, and rarely misses a Miami Heat or Dolphins game.
“I never had any kids, nor have any wife,” Leavy said when reached by phone Wednesday. “You don’t have to pay for a wife and kids, so you have money in the bank.”
To splurge on sporting events.
And nobody does it like Leavy, who attended North Miami Beach High and practices workers’ compensation law.
In May, for example, Leavy was in San Diego watching the Marlins when pitching ace Jose Fernandez suffered his season-ending arm injury, followed the team up to Los Angeles to watch them play the Dodgers, and thus began a sports-crazed odyssey, criss-crossing the country to catch games in 16 cities in 18 days.
As a guest of thoroughbred racing magnate Frank Stronach, he sat with actress Bo Derek before the Preakness at Pimlico Race Course in Maryland until it was time for her to bark out orders. “I kept her company until she said ‘riders up!’” Leavy said.
The next day he flew to Indianapolis to catch Heat-Pacers, followed by Thunder-Spurs in San Antonio the day after that, back to Indianapolis for Heat-Pacers...and on and on it went.
“It was the coolest thing,” he said.
Leavy said he purchases most of his top-dollar tickets on StubHub.
Sometimes, ticket brokers call him if they have great seats to major events.
He would not reveal an amount on how much he spends annually on plane tickets and seats to sporting events, only to say “it’s a lot of money.”
“I’ve never added it up,” he said.
Somehow, Leavy said he is still able to run his law practice, which he does electronically during the day when he’s on the road. He has offices in Davie, Fla., and in Jacksonville.
For years, Leavy attended sporting events largely unnoticed.
“Nobody noticed me when I wore a Cowboys shirt,” he said. “Nobody noticed me when I wore a Heat jersey.”
But when the Marlins changed their uniform colors in 2012, going from a mostly black and teal to orange and black, everything changed. Leavy suddenly became recognizable.
Last year, he was spotted wearing his Orange Marlins apparel in San Francisco for the World Series. The following day he drove out to the Golden Gate Bridge to take some pictures of the landmark when he was spotted by a couple of park rangers, who drove up in a truck to shoo him away from a dangerous cliff.
“One of the guys goes, ‘Aren’t you the guy we’ve been watching on TV behind home plate?’ ” Leavy recalled. “And the other guy says, ‘He’s the Marlins Man!’ ”
The next thing Leavy knew, the park rangers were asking him to have selfies taken with him with the Golden Gate Bridge as the backdrop.
From that day forward, Leavy became known as the Marlins Man, which is the name found on the back of the six orange Marlins jerseys he owns. He now has his own Twitter handle – @Marlins_Man – and picked up close to 1,000 new followers after Tuesday’s game alone.
Leavy said that after Tuesday’s game, he was contacted by fans around the world, which kept him up all night.
“I’ve been getting tweets from Japan, from Mexico and France,” he Leavy said he isn’t doing it for the attention.
“I didn’t plan any of this,” he said. “I’m not selling anything. I’ve been doing this — going to sporting events — pretty much non-stop since 1999. I dated a girl for nine years who hated sports and when that ended, I started going everywhere.”
Leavy said he will be on hand — sitting in the same seat with his Marlins jersey — for Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday and possible Games 6 and 7, whether the Royals want him there or not.