World Series fan causes debate with Marlins jersey
MIAMI (AP) Among the standouts at Games 1 and 2 of the World Series was a Miami Marlins fan in the front row behind home plate.
Laurence Leavy's orange Marlins jersey made him easy to spot amid a sea of Kansas City Royals blue. The Royals' reaction to Leavy became a subject of debate Friday.
Leavy said a Royals official approached him offering to move him to the team owner's suite, but he declined.
''The guy said, `The owner's not really happy. He thinks you're distracting the fans,''' Leavy said. ''I didn't want to move. I paid a lot of money for that seat.''
Toby Cook, the Royals' vice president of public affairs and publicity, denied that ownership was upset or that Leavy was offered a seat in a suite. However, Cook said Leavy was offered a Royals jersey in a friendly conversation.
''He said, `No, no, this is my M.O. I wear this orange jersey and I get on TV all the time,''' Cook said. ''We asked if he's a big Marlins fan and he said, `God, no, I hate those guys - I just wear this to get on TV.'''
Leavy said that's not true.
''I hate the Marlins?'' Leavy said. ''I have a Marlins car and the largest collection of Marlins memorabilia probably in the United States.''
Leavy has been a Marlins season-ticket holder since their first year in 1993.
Nonetheless, it was two World Series games not involving the Marlins that made Leavy a celebrity. He said his followers this week on Twitter ((at)Marlins-Man) have climbed from 175 to 7,100.
''Every Korean and Japanese station that follows American baseball has been calling me all night long for two days for an interview,'' he said.
Royals outfielder Josh Willingham, who played for the Marlins from 2004-88, said it was ''a little strange'' seeing Leavy in his seat behind the plate.
''He definitely didn't belong there, wearing that color,'' Willingham said Friday before Game 3 in San Francisco. ''He was the first thing I noticed when I went out there. All that blue, and him in orange. Kind of weird.''
Leavy, a 58-year-old South Florida attorney, described himself as a sports geek who can afford to travel to games around the country because he has no wife or children.
''One day I woke up and said, I know what will make me happy - go do stuff in person I've been watching on TV,'' he said.
He has been traveling to big events for 15 years, buying tickets online. Leavy attended last year's World Series, and this season's AL and NL Championship Series. Earlier this year he attended 18 NBA playoff games around the country in 20 days.
Leavy specializes in workmen's compensation and does most of his work from the road.
Whether he's attending a baseball, football, hockey, tennis or golf event, Leavy always wears an orange Marlins jersey. He owns six of them and has considered them good luck ever since he wore one to a Miami Heat playoff game and the home team rallied for a victory.
Leavy always tries to sit in the front row behind home plate at baseball games, judging it the best seat in the house. He said that's why he turned down the Royals' proposal to move, and he also turned down a Kansas City jersey, bat and ball autographed by this year's team.
He said the offer came in the sixth inning of Game 1.
''If I move to the owner's suite, my friends couldn't see me,'' Leavy said. ''And I don't know if I could have enjoyed the game higher up.''
Leavy spoke by phone from Las Vegas and was en route to San Francisco for Game 3 on Friday night.
He already had a ticket for Games 6 and 7 back in Kansas City.
''I should be in the same spot, which won't make Royals happy,'' Leavy said. ''But I don't care.''
AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker in San Francisco and AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report.