Maybe you’re just tuning into baseball for the obligatory October dose of postseason drama and you’re puzzled, troubled or amused by the sight of a man in a loud orange Marlins jersey blinking like a beacon in the stands directly behind home plate.
The Miami Marlins aren’t in the playoffs. They’re not even on anybody’s radar. Yet here is this guy taking up prime spectator space at the ballparks of other teams and basically saying, “Look at me. I’ve got lots of money.”
It’s a variation of the theme from 25 years ago when a guy in a rainbow wig played the same game at sports events across the country, popping up wherever the cameras were and saying, “Look at me, and read John 3:16.”
Marlins Man is Laurence Leavy, a Miami lawyer who does his worker’s compensation cases during the day on the computer and turns into a pumpkin at night. He was a fixture in Kansas City during the 2014 World Series and word is that he sometimes buys tickets for people who otherwise couldn’t afford to attend games. Also, he earned praise in Kansas City recently by covering his Marlins jersey with a shirt honoring fallen firefighters.
Admirable moves, but regardless of motive it probably pays to do a little PR when you’re being so in-your-face with the promotion of a franchise that most people find annoying at some level.
Along those lines, I suggest Marlins Man think twice about taking his act to Wrigley Field.
Cubs fans are good Midwestern stock and generally agreeable, but being in the NLCS has their emotions spiking in every direction. The last time they were this close to a World Series was 2003, when a one-hit wonder team from Miami killed the dream.
The Marlins return to competitiveness every so often and are dormant the rest of the time, sort of like those locusts that burst from the earth on a regular schedule but are otherwise unseen. In this erratic way the Marlins have won two world championships in 23 years of trying.
That does not charm longsuffering fans of the Cubs, who were not alive the last time their team won a World Series in 1908 and, no matter how well it’s going today, struggle with the concept that they might actually be alive when it happens again.
The Marlins are no one’s favorite in Ohio, either. The Cleveland Indians last won a World Series in 1948, and when they got a rare shot at rectifying that in 1997 it was a Miami team, then known as the Florida Marlins, that shot them down.
Out of nowhere, take the trophy, back to nowhere. Oh, how that bugs old-school seamheads around the country who never miss an inning with their favorite teams on the radio and expect eventually to be rewarded for it.
For now it makes sense for Marlins Man to stick with haunting Kansas City and Toronto in the ALCS, providing there is any sense in this at all.
If he’s looking to draw the maximum attention, however, Wrigley Field is the place, and for whom should he buy a ticket to join him in that prominent position behind home plate?