Before You Party at Napoli’s, Use Caution Buying Your Festive Gear

Before you click on that Facebook ad from online t-shirt retailer Teespring to buy yourself the popular “Party at Napoli’s” shirt, consider how you want your hard earned dollars spent.

Several unlicensed and unofficial versions of the t-shirt, featuring the catchphrase made popular by Cleveland Indians fan @hipstertito on Twitter and via his flashy signs seen around Progressive Field this season, have started popping up around the internet in the last few days.

The phrase jumped from posterboard onto the Indians’ broadcasts on Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio and circulated among the players in the locker room. Mike Napoli was given a custom-made version of the shirt and it apparently was a hit among both he and his teammates. He wore it for his post-game interview with STO’s Andre Knott after hitting his walk-off sacrifice fly against the Royals on June 2 and Jason Kipnis wore one while appearing on the MLB Network’s ‘Intentional Talk’ in late June. The players have also been seen wearing the shirts during batting practice.

Official versions of the shirt were sold quickly during the Indians’ last homestand in the Progressive Field Team Shop and online via licensed MLB retailer, The sales of the gear came with one stipulation from Napoli – a portion of the proceeds were to benefit the Cleveland Clinic’s Children’s Hospital.

Knockoffs are commonplace in the t-shirt manufacturing game as local catchphrases get picked up by regional shirt-makers while other national companies look to tap in to some of the short-term cash flow. Imitation, as Oscar Wilde was believed to have said, is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.

But when it comes to taking money away from children and others in need, a line needs to be drawn and mediocrity needs to recognize its place.

Teespring, an online t-shirt portal that allows users to create a design, establish a target goal, and print a desired number of units (as long as the creator is selling enough to generate a profit), has given the approval to the “Party At Napoli’s” shirt and has classified it as a blue ribbon best seller. With four days left on its “limited time offer” with claims that the shirt is not sold in stores, the target goal has been reached for production. Their shirts are selling between $24 and $32 in multiple colors and styles, but no proceeds are going to charity from this unlicensed seller.

Teepublic, a similar venture, has taken the rip-off several steps further with cell phone cases, notebooks, laptop cases, mugs, and a variety of shirts, tanks, and hoodie styles. All are great and catchy ideas to support Napoli and the Tribe except…no proceeds from the sales are going to charity.

Online giant Amazon had a listing on their site, but it has since been taken down.

Requests for comment from both Teespring and Teepublic about their decision to sell the merchandise were not returned by the time of this story.

Be smart where you click and smarter where you shop. If you want the knock-off, unlicensed material, that is your call. If you want to benefit a great cause, and rock the same licensed gear being worn by your favorite Indians players, shop right.

Photo: Twitter (@mikenapoli25)

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