10/22/2002 9:06 pm ET
Think outside the park for free taco
By Alyson Footer and Mike Scarr / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Promising to put a free taco in every willing American's hand, Taco Bell will deliver the product if some slugger can deliver a home run ball on target in McCovey Cove.
During the three games of the World Series at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco, the fast-food chain will give a free taco to every American who stops by one of their locations during a three-hour window. The catch? A player -- any player, from either the Giants or the Angels -- has to hit a home run, and the ball has to land on Taco Bell's 15-by-15 foot target floating in McCovey Cove.
The float is emblazoned with a 'Free Taco Here' banner.
What are the odds? Well, in the three-year history of Pac Bell Park, 27 in-game baseballs have landed in the Bay. Barry Bonds lays claim to 21 of them.
The taco in question is the Crunchy Beef Taco and will be free for the asking Nov. 4 between 3 and 6 p.m. local time if there is a successful landing. Just think, Bonds could create a nation-wide craving.
Giants outfielder Tom Goodwin, for one, good-naturedly viewed this as an opportunity to help those less fortunate. He vowed to muscle up and swing for the fences should he be called upon to pinch-hit.
"I'll see if I can feed America," he said.
The promotion is called "Think Outside the Park," a take on the company's current "Think Outside the Bun" advertising campaign. It's similar to an earlier promotion when Taco Bell offered every American a free taco if the Russian space station Mir hit a 40-by-40 foot target floating in the South Pacific. The abandoned station did not cooperate as it hurtled to earth, as the parts that didn't burn up during reentry into the earth's atmosphere missed the target.
"The 'Think Outside the Park' promotion is a fantastic way for fans across the country to be part of the 2002 World Series experience," said Tim Brosnan, executive vice president, business, for Major League Baseball. "Thanks to our official sponsor, Pepsi, and its business partner Taco Bell for creating a promotion that has the potential to benefit millions of baseball fans across the United States."
Without handicapping his chances of helping his fellow Americans to a free meal, Bonds did comment on hitting one over the right-field wall and into the Bay.
"The ball's not going to carry like it does here," he said from Edison Field on Sunday. "There's only a couple of us that will leave it in that water."
Said Goodwin: "Barry can do it. Even if (the target is) 900 feet out there, I wouldn't count him out."
Kenny Lofton, who hit all of three homers this year as a Giant, interjected: "Barry'll do it. Somebody else might do it too. If I get lucky, I could do it."
Angels DH Brad Fullmer, noticing the dreary, cold, drizzly weather, had his doubts about the likelihood of anyone hitting the target.
"I think it's cool that they're doing that, but the way the ball's carrying tonight, I don't think anyone has a chance to hit it there," he said.
"What better way to celebrate America's favorite national pastime than with America's favorite taco," said Greg Creed, chief marketing officer, Taco Bell Corp. "Only one team will win the Series, but with our 'Think Outside the Park' offer, everyone can win."
Alyson Footer and Mike Scarr are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.