Pitbull is Mr. Worldwide. But he had to work himself up the nickname chain to get there. He was Mr. 305 first.

Born to Cuban immigrants in Miami, Pitbull, 36, has grown into one of the community's most recognized influencers. He signed a record deal in 2001 and released an album in 2004. As Pitbull's brand spread during his early years, his fellow Miamians built a strong base.

Part of that connection started at then-Florida Marlins games. According to Marlins President David Samson, who assumed the role in 2002, Pitbull, who will be Monday night's Home Run Derby entertainment at Marlins Park, began working with the MLB team before he became a household name.

"He started with the Marlins before he was famous," Samson says. "He was working with us, so I've known him ten years, maybe more.

"Before he was a performer, he was sort of like a DJ with us, like got fans excited."

A YouTube search yields a pretty outstanding 2009 Marlins hype video featuring Pitbull. The chorus is, "Here we go Marlins, it's time to represent!"

Also, when the Marlins unveiled their new Miami branding in November, obviously Mr. 305 was there to perform.

While the Marlins could not provide ThePostGame with earlier images of young Pitbull rocking a stadium full of Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera jerseys, Samson did mention Pitbull used to perform postgame concerts and is a "friend of the Marlins."

"He wasn't like Laura Ingalls Wilder," Samson smiles. "He was a normal guy and he had a career in mind and he went after it and he got it."

Pitbull is currently on tour with Enrique Iglesias, but perhaps nowhere does Mr. Worldwide feel as comfortable as he does at Marlins Park. He'll have that home field advantage, like Giancarlo Stanton, during Monday's Home Run Derby.

Samson talked with ThePostGame on June 27 at Hashtag Sports in New York City, where he spoke on a panel entitled, "Pasión for Sport: How Hispanics Are Driving the Future of Sports Marketing." The Marlins are hosting their first MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday.


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