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Jumbo Shrimp veteran using TikTok to reach new audience during twilight of his career

Ryan Lavarnway has played for 13 different organizations during his pro career. He's recently embraced social media as a way to reach a new generations of fans.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — If you're a baseball fan there's a good chance you've rooted for and against Ryan Lavarnway. 

"Organizations 13, major league teams in the majors, eight. If I don't do it in order I get lost myself trying to think about it," Lavarnway said with a smile.

The Jumbo Shrimp catcher made his major league debut in 2011 with the Red Sox. 

A top prospect, Lavarnway struggled to find consistency and hit a low spot in 2017, until earning a spot in the World Baseball Classic with Team Israel.

"What I started doing was I started playing catch with the fans before the games. This was before they put the nets up down the line and seeing how much fun they had and the pride on the parents faces they were all videoing it, and they were messaging me and again that reinvigorated my love for the game," Lavarnway said. 

Seeing those smiles made Lavarnway realize you don't have to hit home runs to be popular with fans.

"I'll never forget, I posted on Super Bowl Sunday, this is the first time I went viral. I just had all my old major league jerseys and I hadn't signed a contract yet, and I was like what team am I going to play for? I just kind of clicked through all the jerseys and I was not trying to be funny I was just like honestly I don't know who I'm going to play for and people were like this is hilarious who knows?" Lavarnway said. 

From instruction to comedy and even a First Coast News TikTok collaboration. Lavarnway has embraced social media and use it to engage with a new generation.

"We have good nights, we have bad nights, we feel anger, we feel excitement and people really connect to that I think. I think social media show people who you are let people know you and then people will love you," Lavarnway said. 

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