In 2014, a man wearing a bright red Miami Marlins baseball jersey was always sitting behind home plate at some of the most watched baseball games throughout the entire year. Baseball fans who watched ESPN Sunday Nite Baseball, Fox Sports Game of the week, MLB Playoffs, and other games kept noticing this bright red jersey.
This Marlins jersey also showed up at the Preakness, Kentucky Derby, and NFL games. Sports fans’ across the country began to ask several questions. Who is this guy? Why is he always wearing a Marlins jersey? How can he afford to attend all of these games?
In 2015, the Marlins jersey returned to sporting events across the country. But this time it was different. The Marlins jersey was seen with numerous people surrounding him at all times. Were these new fans or new friends? The big question was who are these people?
The man wearing the Marlins jersey at sporting events across the country is Laurence Leavy, an attorney from South Florida. Leavy has been a sports’ fan for several decades. For many years, Leavy would buy season ticket packages for FSU, Miami Dolphins, University of Florida, and of course the Miami Marlins.
Instead of attending these games with friends’ or clients’, Leavy enjoys buying premium tickets for strangers’. As Leavy told me, “I want to pay it forward. In 2015, I went to 301 different sporting events in 48 cities. The people who attend games with me varies. I have gone to games with firefighters, sick kids in children hospitals, seniors, etc. I get enjoyment when I see them smile. For three hours during the baseball game, their stress disappears. I am changing lives.” Leavy sure is changing lives and he has become a “celebrity” because of this. Offers are pouring in for Leavy to throw out a first pitch at MLB games, television commercial opportunities, speaking engagements, and even a baseball card.
In 2016, the story is no longer who is Marlins Man and what is he doing at every major sporting event across the country. Leavy has been embraced by fans’ across the country. They appreciate his generosity. Leavy’s message for 2016 is “to pay it forward.” “If somebody does something nice for you, please do something nice for somebody else. I was at a Yankees game and Alex Rodriguez gave a baseball to a young kid. The young kid immediately turned around and gave this ball to a disabled child. The kid who got the ball from Alex Rodriguez told his parents’ he gave the ball away because ‘Marlins Man would be proud of me’. When I heard that, I knew I was impacting lives. “
The world would sure be better if everybody embraced the “pay it forward” message. To keep track of Marlins Man and see how he is impacting lives, he can be followed on twitter. @Marlins_Man