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I'm on the front page of it today.

 

Today's front page

 

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NEW YORK - Admin Walansky wasn't the most popular kid at Intermediate School 303 in Brooklyn.

 

And maybe he was just being modest, but he says he wasn't the most intelligent or most athletic, either. What he was, however, was the most recognizable.

 

That will happen when you wear nothing but Marlins T-shirts to school every day through two years of junior high.

 

''That was my whole wardrobe,'' he remembers.

 

Things haven't changed much in the past 12 years. The 23-year-old now wears Marlins regalia to work, where he sits behind a desk topped with a half-dozen Marlins bobbleheads in a room filled with a dozen autographed Marlins photos, signed baseballs and a massive, panoramic photo from Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.

 

''I've got a Marlins watch, a Marlins wallet,'' says Brooklyn's biggest -- and probably only -- Marlins fan.

 

If he has Marlins underwear, he thankfully keeps that to himself.

 

''Definitely, it's strange,'' he admits. ``Because, not only is it obsessive, but it's obsessive about a team that's 1,500 miles away. So it is a little bit out there.

 

``But hey, I enjoy it. So I don't care.''

 

And others, he believes, enjoy it, too. Which is why, 11 years ago, Walansky started what has become marlinsbaseball.com, the most popular Marlins fan site on the Internet, with as many as 150,000 hits a day and nearly a million posts since August 2002.

 

''I wanted a way to show other people that I liked the Marlins,'' Walansky says.

 

What began as a class project quickly morphed into a monthly newspaper for his family and, before he left high school, a posting board for Marlins fans everywhere. Today, marlinsbaseball.com is a slick website that includes news stories, photos, statistics, team information and, most popular of all, lively forums in which fans from all over the country can discuss all things Marlins.

 

USING THE WEBSITE

 

''Everyone gets a chance to express opinions,'' says Jeffery Matt, a 27-year-old Marlins fan and website visitor from Boca Raton. ``Plus, you can always find up-to-date information on the stadium issue, the Marlins or even their minor-league players.

 

``I don't think I would have become as big of a fan otherwise. I still would go to my 20 to 30 games a year, but I never really knew as much of the team until I got on the message boards.''

 

And as the webmaster behind all that fan chatter, no one is better suited to judge the mood in Marlins Nation after last winter's fire sale than Walansky.

 

''They're kind of negative about the upcoming year,'' says Walansky, who says he remains positive. ``We've got a few guys who are upbeat and just want to see the team play, and they don't really care who's on it. [but] overall, people are pretty down about the fire sale.''

 

Walansky's base of operations sits on the second floor of a brick row house in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn about a mile from Coney Island, where he lives with his parents and shares a teal-colored bedroom with his 18-year-old brother, Joey, a diehard Tampa Bay Devil Rays fan.

 

About six months ago, just before his 23rd birthday, he landed his first job, as a support technician for a message-board company in Virginia. Conveniently, that not only allows him to work from his bedroom -- where he can dress in Marlins throwback jerseys whenever he wants -- but it allows him to remain logged on and attentive to his Marlins fan site as well.

 

''It's healthy,'' Ellyn Walansky says of her son's hobby. ``He's not into drugs. He's not into bad things. He's a good kid.''

 

Working from home also lets him watch all 162 of the team's games on satellite TV; he didn't miss one last year and has missed just a handful in the past three seasons.

 

And if the satellite goes down or a game is blacked out? Well, that's why, as a backup, Walansky subscribes to a webcast site that also carries Marlins games.

 

''The biggest thing in his life is the Marlins,'' says Adam Rabel, a diehard Marlins fan from San Antonio who met Walansky through the website. ``It seems like everything revolves around his passion for the Marlins.''

 

And it all started with a teal-colored logo of a giant game fish.

 

LOGO CHANGES A LIFE

 

''I was actually a Mets fan until 1992,'' Walansky says. ``Then I saw the Marlins logo and the colors on some shirts and jerseys. I'd like to think that's the reason I'm a fan of the team. [but] I really couldn't explain it.''

 

What he does know is that it wasn't easy living in Brooklyn and rooting for a team in Miami.

 

Walansky's family didn't have satellite TV when he was growing up, and the Internet offered only sketchy news of the team. And then there was that pesky bedtime.

 

''I was in the living room watching TV . . . until the last second,'' Walansky says, recalling Game 7 of the 1997 World Series the way others remember first dates or wedding anniversaries. ``I think it ended at almost 2 in the morning. I went to school the next day really tired.''

 

Before the sixth and final game of the 2003 World Series, Walansky hung out in the lobby of the Marlins' Manhattan hotel ``just to feel the atmosphere.''

 

''I got to see Mike Lowell,'' he boasted. ``But I didn't talk to him. I just got to see him.''

 

In fact, despite his faithfulness, Walansky has never met a Marlins player. He has chatted on the Internet with former Marlins Justin Wayne and Ryan Jorgensen, who wrote a diary for the website. And he has exchanged letters with former manager Jack McKeon.

 

Other than that, though, he says he had no contact with the players -- and even less with the team.

 

''It would be nice to have some kind of response, of course,'' he says.

 

He might get a chance this month. After planning to see the team in person for the first time this season today at Shea Stadium, Walansky is scheduled to make the first of his two or three annual trips to Miami for the team's series against the Rockies (April 28-30), Phillies (May 1-2) and Cardinals (May 5-7).

 

''I'd like to go to more home games,'' he says. ``It's not the same seeing the Marlins at Shea as it is seeing them at home when you have fellow fans around you know.

 

``Plus, there's like nobody in Brooklyn who's a Marlins fan besides me.''

 

And it's unlikely that there is anyone, anywhere, who is more loyal. Sell the players, change owners, move to San Antonio -- it doesn't matter. You can even change the name and the logo now, because although other fans might root for lovable losers, Walansky insists that he's staying with one team for life.

 

''I can't even imagine being a Cubs fan,'' he says. ``I can't see a way I would stop rooting for the Marlins -- I'm just so attached to them. Even if they moved, I would root for the franchise.''

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Guest Jack1

Great article on you Admin.

It's nice to see a face to go with the forum.

Thank you for this forum. You do a great job!

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Guest Guest

Look on the left hand side "N.Y.'s Biggest Baseball Fan" and the small pic of the bobbleheads and me.

 

Admin is awesome. :thumbup

 

Where are you on the front page?

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Great article. Congratulations Admin.

 

Nice to see Das is still leeching off you. I can't believe he weasled his way into the article.

 

Oh and "Admin Walansky wasn't the most popular kid at Intermediate School 303 in Brooklyn." is going in my sig and staying there forever.

 

Should be interesting to see how many new members we get today and in the next few.

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The picture on the actual sports page is pretty big. Would it be weird if I hung it up in my office at home?

 

Admin - You are friggin awesome.. and count me into the guys you mention as not being too bummed about the firesale and just want to watch the guys play...

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