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Rays win Series? Pizza for all

John Keiley has made good on his pizza gamble twice so far,  and has given away about 4,000 pies.

John Keiley has made good on his pizza gamble twice so far, and has given away about 4,000 pies.

John Keiley isn't really that big of a Rays fan.

It's more that he likes a good story and a big underdog — and a little publicity — as much as he likes making a good pizza. And, oh yeah, he hates the Red Sox and the Yankees.

So that's how he came to make this offer, and paint it on the front window of his Johnny's New York Pizza & Pasta shop in the Denver suburb of Lakewood:

Free pizza for the world if the Rays win the World Series.

Sounds crazy, especially in Colorado. "People come in and ask, why did you pick the Rays?" Keiley said Tuesday.

But he has his reasons. And he might be on to something.

He made his first such deal in June 2007, offering free pizza in the unlikely event his hometown Rockies swept the Yankees.

They did, and Keiley gave away 2,500 pizzas — at a cost of about $12,000.

As football season kicked off, he figured he would do it again: Free pizza if any NFL team went 16-0. The New England Patriots did. So on a Sunday in January, Keiley gave away about 1,500 pizzas.

A few weeks ago, he was impressed watching on ESPN as the Rays rallied to beat and sweep the Red Sox. He called a childhood buddy from New York (they were Mets fans), George Vricos, who now lives in Clearwater. The more he heard about the Rays, the more he liked. So he made his latest offer.

"I'm rooting for the Rays," he said. "And if the Red Sox and Yankees don't get in the playoffs, that would be heaven."

Rays win Series? Pizza for all 07/29/08 [Last modified: Thursday, July 31, 2008 7:06pm]
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