Tag Archives: John Rizzo

Queens natives design sports tees


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

These guys don’t thread lightly.

Queens natives who are die-hard sports fans have started printing their own T-shirts. But this team gear is a little different than what you find at a chain store, and can only be purchased online.

On the last day of the 2009 season, lifelong Mets fan Darren Meenan of Little Neck made a shirt that highlighted the team’s turmoils over the last few years, sandwiched by “I survived” and “Let’s Go Mets 2010.”

He officially started his brand, The 7 Line, on opening day of the 2010 season. It has grown to be a fan favorite, with some of the company’s popular shirts visible at Citi Field and across the country.

The key to making the merchandise unique, Meenan said, is social networking and keeping up with the team, but most of all, knowing what the people like.

“The common bond would be you’re either a fan of our Facebook page or our Twitter account and you interact with each other because you’re a die-hard fan,” he said. “The die-hard fans are so loyal it doesn’t matter if [the Mets are] 10 games up or 10 games back.”

The 7 Line, which is staffed by Meenan and fellow Little Neck native Lizy Saroyan, has even become popular with Mets players. On opening day this year, starting pitcher Johan Santana appeared before reporters after the game in a 7 Line T-shirt with the number 8 on its front that memorialized the late Gary Carter, who passed away before the season’s start.

“One of the biggest names in pitching and baseball wearing the shirt that came from here, it was pretty crazy,” Meenan said.

Another startup, We Bleed Blue, designs and prints Rangers T-shirts out of a Glendale basement.

When news broke that Rick Nash was traded to the Rangers on July 23, co-founders Brendan Gebert and John Rizzo said they instantly began brainstorming about making T-shirts of the skater.

Fans wanted something with the phrase “Nashty,” the founders and designers said, and they put several concepts on Facebook and Twitter to get feedback. The final product was completely from fan opinion, they said.

“We would never put something out there that we wouldn’t wear ourselves,” the founders said. “Some of our designs come from fan feedback, others come straight from our own imagination.”

We Bleed Blue has even made T-shirts at the request of players or their families.

Gebert and Rizzo said defenseman Marc Staal’s wife contacted them about making a shirt for him. The result, they said, was one that read “Our Staal Is Better Than Yours,” which is a reference to the Carolina Hurricanes, where two of Staal’s brothers play.

“We are very happy with the design and we look forward to wearing it when the Rangers play the Carolina Hurricanes this upcoming season,” the partners said.

The duo said they plan on extending their football line, as they’re both devout Giants fans. They said an expanded Giants line should be ready by the Super Bowl champs’ opener against the Dallas Cowboys on September 5.

Check out the shirts at http://www.webleedblue.com/ and http://the7line.com/