Tigers confirm: They're talking to ‘Marlins Man’

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Marlins Man is a fish out of water these days.

Could the Tigers reel him in?

Baseball’s most-recognizable fan — who, with seemingly bottomless pockets, shows up at all the big games, sitting right behind home plate, wearing his bright-orange visor and jersey — has been told by new Marlins ownership that his money is no longer wanted in South Beach, and that’s led multiple big-league teams to inquire about making the leap to another team.

And one of those teams is Detroit, the Tigers confirmed to The News on Thursday.

ESPN’s Darren Rovell tweeted earlier Thursday that the Tigers “have initially reached out to Marlins Man to sell him prime seats behind home plate in Detroit.”

Marlins Man, known to friends and family as Florida attorney Laurence Leavy, has been asked by multiple teams to purchase three years’ worth of tickets, in advance, he told ESPN. Tigers spokesman Ron Colangelo confirmed that the team has made contact with Leavy along with "several other clubs." Leavy didn’t immediately return a message from The News.

Leavy has owned Marlins season tickets, right behind home plate, for the 25 years of the franchise’s existence, and has provided the team some pretty impressive visibility across the country. He attends World Series and All-Star Games, even if the Marlins aren’t involved, and big events in other sports, too.

But when the Marlins — sold last year to Derek Jeter and partners — jacked up his prices this winter, to more than $200,000 a year, Leavy balked.

He was especially disgusted they would raise his prices, after his loyalty, and the offseason fire sale that shipped out some big-name stars, including Giancarlo Stanton — and so now, he’s a free agent.

The Tigers wouldn’t figure to need any national exposure — Leavy seems to find his way on to local TV and radio wherever he goes — as the Olde English D is one of the most recognizable brands in sports. That said, the team is in a significant rebuilding phase and facing a season of seriously slumping ticket sales, so three years’ worth of prime-location tickets, paid in advance, is apparently nothing the Tigers are willing to sneeze at.

Leavy figures he attends nearly 300 sporting events a year, and is familiar with Comerica Park. He’s been to Detroit multiple times, including for the 2012 World Series. He’s a mini-celebrity, posing for autographs and even signing autographs at every sighting.

For his day job, he owns Laurence Leavy & Associates in Fort Lauderdale, and specializes in workers-compensation cases.

What do Tigers fans think of the prospects of a possible Tigers Man? Well, not much apparently. In early results from a Twitter poll posted Thursday afternoon, 74 percent of respondents said they don’t want him (No! Sounds Fishy!), while 26 percent said they do (Yes! Fish and ’Ships!).

Traditionally, the Tigers organization hasn't been a big fan of gimmicks like this. In 2013, they fired Charley Marcuse, the singing hot-dog vendor.