CHICAGO The Boston Red Sox no longer have Manny Ramirez, but with fans lining up to buy Jason Bay T-shirts at Fenway Park, Ramirez's dreadlocks have been forgotten as quickly as his zany antics.
The Milwaukee Brewers were already having a fine season on the field and at the gate but since the acquisition of CC Sabathia, they have become a Wisconsin cash cow.
A host of marquee players were acquired in July to help out in the pennant stretch, and they've lived up to their billing on the field and at the cash register.
"We call it the CC surge," said Rick Schlesinger, Brewers executive vice president of business operations. "It's been amazing. We've sold out 12 straight games and every game through August. We're selling CC shirts and jerseys as fast as we can bring them in."
The Brewers, who have already sold a franchise record 2.9 million tickets this season, sold 40,000 tickets within 24 hours of trading for Sabathia. Sabathia's first start was sold out in six hours. And their TV ratings are the highest in club history.
"You've got to give CC a large amount of credit for this," Schlesinger said. "I don't think he's paid for himself ($5 million), not this season, but if we get to the postseason, the revenue impact will far exceed what we paid him this year. You always have a big spike in numbers the following year."
The Red Sox didn't generate ticket sales with the acquisition of Bay because there are virtually no more tickets to sell, but he quickly became a hit in Boston.
The Red Sox sold 2,000 Bay T-shirts in one week, said Red Sox executive vice president Sam Kennedy, which he said matches the entire total of Ramirez shirts sold this season.
"It's pretty incredible just how popular he's been," Kennedy said. "He's become an overnight sensation. There's been a dramatic run on his shirts.
"It just shows you how trade-deadline dreams can impact merchandising and sales. People get caught up in the excitement of a new player, and they have the impulse to buy his jersey. It's just like fashion. It's trendy. It's popular. It's in the moment.
"I imagine there's a few No. 99 jerseys sold in Los Angeles, too."
Indeed, the Los Angeles Dodgers have almost sold their allotment of 2,500 Ramirez shirts with the new No. 99. They sold a franchise-record 30,000 tickets in the 24 hours after the trade and 50,000 in the first three days, vice president Josh Rawitch said.
Los Angeles Angels vice president Tim Mead said his club has moved roughly half of the inventory of Mark Teixeira shirts since they acquired the slugging first baseman July 29.
The Chicago Cubs already are near capacity, averaging 40,693 fans a game, but the hottest item at the team gift shops are Rich Harden T-shirts. The Cubs acquired Harden three weeks ago, and he's electrified the crowd in his first five starts with 47 strikeouts in 30 innings.
"We've had a 20 percent jump in merchandising as soon as he got traded here," said Matt Wszolek, director of sales and promotions. "His jerseys and T-shirts have been impossible to keep in stock. People see how great he is and want to show pride in the newest Cub. Everyone's clamoring for his stuff."
The Chicago White Sox hadn't received their first shipment of Ken Griffey Jr. T-shirts and jerseys when he made his home debut Tuesday, but the phones are busy at the ticket offices.
"Season tickets were kind of at a snail's pace when we made the trade for Griffey," said Brooks Boyer, White Sox vice president and chief marketing officer, "but there has since been a significant spike. He certainly has made an impact."
The White Sox drew 35,371 for Griffey's debut. Most telling, Boyer said, was that there were less than 5 percent no-shows for the game compared with the usual 10 percent.