“Marlins Man” has been seen at the biggest venues and all the biggest games in baseball over the past five years.
And like you, Laurence Leavy is hoping the pending purchase by the group led by Derek Jeter fires up a lackluster Marlins fan base.
“I’m happy the Marlins are sold because they need a fresh start,” Leavy said. “I definitely want to energize the fan base that lacks the energy I see all the time at baseball stadiums across the country.”
The Miami Herald reported Friday that longtime owner Jeffrey Loria had reached an agreement to sell the franchise for $1.2 billion to a group led by New York businessman Bruce Sherman and Jeter.
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Leavy was in New York Friday and said he will be in New York next week for the Subway Series and later when the Marlins play the Mets at Citi Field where he will watch from his customary front-row seats behind home plate.
“If it is sold, I’m happy it’s Jeter,” Leavy said. “Jeter is a good guy and, hopefully, he will bring class to the organization.
“They say in life that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same result. Well, that’s what the Marlins have been the last five years.”
On Friday, some of the fans flocking to Marlins Park to watch them take on the Rockies still hadn’t heard the news of the pending sale to Jeter’s group.
Their reactions were like a kid on Christmas morning.
“I’m happy and excited,” said John Rivera, who has been a Marlins’ fan since 2005. “I think [Jeffrey Loria] just bought the team for business purposes and cared only about his wealth. I think the Marlins as a whole organization need a fresh start.”
Jason Reinhard, a native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, was attending Friday’s game against the Rockies with his family. Although he said he is not a Marlins fan in particular, Reinhard is a big baseball fan and thinks the sale will bring something positive to the team.
“[Jeter] has the experience of being with a winning organization and a winning club,” Reinhard said. “You would think he recognizes talent. He’s been involved with it with the Yankees. They’ve built up a farm system as well. He’s seen all aspects of a team from top to bottom. So I think it can only help.”
Carolyn Soucy, a representative of the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing for military families, threw one the ceremonial first pitches before Friday’s game.
Wearing her custom-made Marlins’ jersey, Soucy said she is looking forward to seeing what Jeter can do for the franchise.
“It has to be a positive,” Soucy said. “We only can go up and do better.
“He was a great player and you can’t ask for anything better than that. I just hope he can drive us the way he did his team as a player and one day take us to a World Series.”
Alex Cepero, a Cuban resident of Miami that has been a Marlins fan since 2009, said he was glad to see Loria sell the team because “he is tired of seeing key players come and go on the Marlins roster for years.”
“Whenever we finally put together a team with players of high caliber, we give them away,” Cepero said. “It’s important that we have a new owner, but not just anyone. But with someone like Derek Jeter, I think winning is in his blood. I think he’s going to put his heart into this team to make sure it reaches a high level.”
Cepero said he is aware that even with a new owner the Marlins will likely need to make moves to bolster their roster and farm system that will take some time.
“I’m aware making this team better won’t happen overnight,” Cepero said. “They have to work on improving this team’s pitching staff overall. Jose Fernandez’s death, it left a big hole in Miami. But we have some good guys that have shown promise.”