Feeding America One Base at a Time

Taco Bell probably thought they were being really clever with their World Series promotion. With their "Steal a Base, Steal a Taco" contest, they promised to give a free taco to every American if any player stole a base during the World Series. And then rookie sensation Jacoby Ellsbury stole second base for the Red Sox in Game Two, and we all learned that we would get the free taco only between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on a Tuesday when we were supposed to be at work.
Really, who's going to go to Taco Bell then? I remember thinking at the time. "It might cost Taco Bell more if they did it between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.," one Red Sox player even joked.

It turns out that the joke is on Taco Bell. That Taco Tuesday is today. Meanwhile, the Red Sox swept the World Series on Sunday, and here in Boston the parade is also scheduled for today. There might just be some people skipping work. The parade starts at noon, and the free tacos start at two o'clock. A quick search of their web site reveals that one is located at 700 Commonwealth Avenue, only a mile from Fenway Park. Just make sure you buy your soda someplace else!

Of course, we all had to hear far too much about this promotion. It didn't help that one of the Red Sox players, Royce Clayton, was miked for sound and kept talking about the promotion to his teammates during the game. Fox showed him talking so much about Taco Bell that you couldn't really tell who was paying him more. The Red Sox or Taco Bell?

The very idea of putting microphones in the dugout was supposed to let us hear intricate discussions of baseball strategy; instead, we hear one player talking to another about fast food. Maybe we could get rid of commercials altogether and just hear the players talk about their favorite products in between innings. "Well, I'm glad you asked. My favorite brand of chewing tobacco is Skoal."

By the way, in case you're wondering who the hell Royce Clayton is, he is a backup infielder who contributed only slightly more to the Red Sox championship than you did. (Royce Clayton: no hits in six at-bats during eight games in September, cheered admirably from the dugout. You: Wore same Red Sox shirt for last seven games without washing it, never forgot to drink beer from "lucky" glass during key moments.)

Perhaps most amazing of all was that in the middle of a one-run game, Fox sent its field reporter up into the stands to interview the Chief Operating Officer of Taco Bell. And so, while important things were happening on the field, we got to hear some more about the free tacos. For Taco Bell, it was the culmination of a long, beautiful marketing campaign that was unfortunately ruined moments later when Alex Rodriguez distracted everyone by announcing that he had opted out of his contract with the Yankees.

Damn you, A-Rod, can't we all just enjoy our free taco without it all having to be about you?

And the excitement didn't end there. In the next game, Series MVP Mike Lowell stole third base, and all of America won a free chalupa, if, that is, they could correctly identify which particular beef-filled tortilla shell Taco Bell was calling a chalupa.

"Is it the round one?"

"No, I'm sorry, but thanks for playing Steal a Base, Steal a Chalupa. That'll be a buck, seventy-nine."

At any rate, you have to feel good for Jacoby Ellsbury (New nickname: Tacoby Bellsbury.) The 24-year-old had only played in seven games for the Red Sox before September 1st. Already, after a great September, all of Boston loved him. And now, with the free taco he won for us, most of America will too -- at least until the indigestion kicks in.
  • http://JoeLavin.com

    A periodic humor column, disguised as a blog. New columns published on Tuesdays or not as the case may be.



  • I've written for Slate, The Boston Globe Magazine, Salon, McSweeney's, WBUR Radio, The Christian Science Monitor, The Globe and Mail, and many other publications. Thanks for dropping by. I hope you enjoy my Internet column.

  • ©1995-2009 Joe Lavin