Major League Baseball hopes to boost television ratings and a major U.S. restaurant chain is hoping to attract some new customers in a joint promotion for Tuesday night's Game Three of the World Series between the Detroit Tigers and Saint Louis Cardinals. As Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk explained to VOA's Steve Schy, if any player hits a home run to left field in that game, everyone in the United States will win a free beef taco.
It was more than 30 years ago when Boston Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk hit a home run off the left field foul pole in the bottom of the 12th inning to win Game Six of the 1975 World Series.
That moment became one of the most memorable in baseball. As Fisk watched the flight of the ball curving toward the left field foul pole, he wildly waved his arms to the right, urgently trying to guide the ball into fair territory. Carlton Fisk recalled his famous homer for VOA Sports.
"The ball is in the air and it looks like it's going to go foul. And I don't know how much my waving helped out, but it stayed fair. But it [jumping and waving] was just a sort of spontaneous response because I knew I hit the ball pretty good," said Fisk. "I knew it was hit hard enough, I knew it was hit high enough. It was just a question of whether it was going to stay fair. It did."
Carlton Fisk explains how Tuesday's promotion will work.
"The third game of the World Series, which is the next one coming up, if anyone from either team hits a home run to left field, the U.S. restaurant chain, Taco Bell, is going to be anxious and excited to give away a free taco to everybody in America that visits one of their establishments on November 1, between 2:00 - 5:00 PM," he said.
Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch explained how the quick service restaurant chain came up with the promotion for Tuesday night's game.
"We are kind of the "outside the hamburger or hot dog bun" brand, we think left of center in everything that we do," he said. "And we started to look at left field as a great place to celebrate the home runs, the moments of the game and reward fans."
Both Major League Baseball is hoping the promotion will boost television ratings for baseball and Taco Bell is hoping to bring in some potential customers. Television ratings for the World Series have been falling in recent years. Last year's Series, which saw the Chicago White Sox sweep the Houston Astros to win the Championship for the first time in 88 years, was the lowest rated in history. And the audience size for this year's opening game was 25-per-cent lower than Game One in 2005.
Taco Bell has tried similar promotions before, but in each case the home run target was a lot smaller and they did not have to pay off. But Poetsch says this year could be different.
"We decided this year we are going to "up the ante" and make an offer that is really something that could actually happen," he said. "About 35-percent of home runs in the last three years in the World Series have gone to left field. There is a strong likelihood that this could happen, so we anticipate giving away millions and millions of tacos."
That means millions and millions of baseball fans hope the Tigers and Cardinals do some big-time slugging in Game Three.