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Tampa Bay Rays replica rings hit eBay immediately

The rings were given to 37,000 fans as they walked into Tuesday night’s game against the New York Yankees.

Sherman Zent | Times photo illustration

The rings were given to 37,000 fans as they walked into Tuesday night’s game against the New York Yankees.

ST. PETERSBURG — Miss the cool American League Championship ring replica giveaway at the Tampa Bay Rays game the other night?

No worries. The rings are already available on eBay.

But they're far from free.

Some enterprising hawkers want as much as $125 for the sparkly zinc alloy rings. One going for $77 already had 10 bids Wednesday morning, when about 80 rings were available and the number of sellers appeared to be growing.

The rings, given to 37,000 fans as they walked into Tuesday night's game against the Yankees, have the Rays logo on top, framed by the words "2008 AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONS," with the "9 = 8" slogan and "AL EAST CHAMPS" on one side and the team's 97-65 record and "FIRST AL PENNANT" on the other.

"They look incredible!" said one seller asking for $39.99. "These are quite heavy metal rings with high quality detail — just like the real ones."

Some sellers included game tickets as authentication. Another offered to throw in a cowbell.

The cheapest eBay price was $4.25, but the bidding was up to $10.50 within minutes. Two rings also were for sale on craigslist for $125 and $175.

Rays senior vice president Mark Fernandez was not surprised.

The team has a "fan experience department" — sort of a collaboration of marketing and promotions folks — who knew the rings would be hot.

Fernandez wouldn't say how much the Rays spent on the replica rings, but he said such giveaways all but ensure sellout crowds. He liked that the rings created a buzz.

"It's gratifying to see people respond to that," he said.

For those unwilling to spend $100 or more on a piece of Rays history, there will be another chance to get in on the swag.

Wednesday night fans got free American League Championship cowbells. And on Saturday, everyone attending the home game against the Chicago White Sox will get a replica of the American League Championship trophy.

Emily Nipps can be reached at nipps@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8452.

Tampa Bay Rays replica rings hit eBay immediately 04/15/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 11:21pm]
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