Marlins Man is officially a free agent.
Miami lawyer Laurence Leavy acknowledged to ESPN Wednesday night that he couldn't come to terms with the Miami Marlins and will not be paying for tickets for the team's games for the first time in 25 years.
The only Marlins games he says he plans to attend are the Yankees-Marlins series at Yankee Stadium. He also says he's considering keeping the orange jersey he wears but taking the Marlins logo off of it. He said he'll also consider wearing the jersey of another interested team that would be more appreciative of him.
"Four teams reached out to me already and said that I could become, like, the Tigers man or other teams, and they would be happy to sell me tickets on TV view for three years paid in advance with a substantial discount," said Leavy, who has become the most famous fan in sports by sitting at prime sporting events in some of the best seats. He is sitting in a great seat for an average of 285 sporting events a year, he estimates.
Leavy presented the Marlins with an offer, as well as signed checks that they could cash, on Dec. 27, as first reported this week by local Florida radio personality Andy Slater. Leavy's offer was $200,000 for three years of four Diamond Club seats behind home plate, figuring a 10 percent discount for the Marlins' lack of stars and a 10 percent discount for paying everything up front.
Leavy said he paid $250 per ticket per game last year for his best seats. The Marlins came back asking for $260 for those seats over three years for what Leavy said was "a worse product with all the All-Stars gone."
The team no longer has Giancarlo Stanton, who was traded to the Yankees, Christian Yelich, who was shipped off to the Brewers, Dee Gordon, who is on the Mariners, and Marcell Ozuna, who is with the Cardinals.
After an awkward face-to-face with new team owner Derek Jeter at Jeter's first town hall, the two never had another conversation. Leavy said Marlins representatives came to his office to discuss a deal but, according to Leavy, wound up only insulting him.
"They said that I did nothing for the team, I don't promote the Marlins, nobody buys season tickets because of me, nobody buys advertising because of me, and they don't care what I do," Leavy said.
A Marlins spokesman said he would not comment on the matter.
Negotiations then stalled, according to Leavy's account, which included emails between Leavy and the team that were provided to ESPN. The Marlins recently told Leavy that he had a credit that would give him two season tickets in the outfield, and the team wanted him to apply that to the $263,000 bill they gave him for the four Diamond Club seats. Leavy took the credit but didn't agree to buy anything more. He told ESPN that he will give the seats away and likely won't ever sit in them.
"I have been a full season-ticket holder since the first year 25 years ago in 1993, and I don't know anybody else who spent as much money on the Marlins for tickets as I have in the last 25 years," Leavy said. "While they asked us to be loyal to them and faithful and patient, they are not faithful and loyal to us."
Losing Marlins Man could be perceived as another blow to the Marlins. Since Jeter and Bruce Sherman bought the team, they have been criticized for firing a scout who just had cancer surgery and the guy who was inside the Billy the Marlin mascot costume the past 14 seasons and for an investor prospectus that focused on profitability over winning. All this was on top of losing their most marketable players.
Said Leavy: "Derek Jeter is a Hall of Fame player and a virgin and inexperienced corporate owner and baseball manager of a team. I wish them luck and success, and I hope that they have a winning team in my lifetime."