www.vagazette.com/sports/bal-hundreds-of-ray-rice-up-the-middle-shirts-sell-in-hours-20121127,0,7110694.story

vagazette.com

Hundreds of Ray Rice 'up the middle' shirts sell in hours

By Jill Rosen

The Baltimore Sun

8:08 AM EST, November 28, 2012

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A show-stopping play and a catchy saying add up to some head-turning shirt sales -- just ask Ray Rice.

Stores report selling hundreds of shirts with Rice's new catchphrase, "Hey diddle diddle, Ray Rice up the middle" -- and the shirts have only been available for several hours.

"Ray Rice has a lot of pull in this town," joked John Conigliaro, who owns Great Moments, a shop selling the shirts.

In Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers, Rice scored one of the most memorable plays in years. With the Ravens down by three points and facing a fourth-and-29 at their own 37-yard line, less than two minutes left in the game, Rice got the ball and proceeded to plow the needed yardage -- and then some.

In a press conference after the game Rice summed it up as: "Hey diddle diddle, Rice up the middle."

People latched immediately onto the saying and Monday Rice posted on Facebook that people were already hounding him for shirts with his saying. Later that day he said he had one created to benefit his foundation.

"All proceeds to benefit my foundation!" Rice wrote. "This will be the only design approved by me!!"

Perhaps it's no surprise that the shirts are selling almost as fast as Rice ran on Sunday. Thousands of people reacted to news that Rice would be offering them.

"Awesome!" wrote Connie Caudle Morris. "Your 29 yard run on 4th down was the best football play I have ever seen!! Can't wait to get one of these t-shirts!!"

The shirts are initially for sale at Great Moments stores and website. Owner John Conigliaro estimated Tuesday that he'd sold close to 700 in less than 24 hours -- more brisk than anything else he's selling.

He's grabbing one for himself, smitten as anyone with that jaw-dropping play.

"It was incredible, it was unbelievable," he said. "That kind of thing happens not once every 10 years."

jill.rosen@baltsun.com