Sure, hot dogs and beer are ballpark concession staples (sometimes even paired in one bite), but over the past 15 years, Taco Bell has been pushing to make Doritos Locos Tacos and Baja Blasts the go-to meal of the World Series. This year’s matchup kicks off tomorrow at 7:03 CT (airing on FOX and MLB TV), and whether you’re rooting for the Houston Astros or the Philadelphia Phillies, there’s one way that everyone wins at least a little something. Anytime a base is stolen, Taco Bell will dish out a reward.
Taco Bell’s Steal a Base, Steal a Taco promotion, which rewards bases stolen during a World Series game with a free Doritos Locos Taco for all, started in 2007 as a way for the chain to be a part of the “cultural phenomenon” that is the World Series.
“‘Steal a Base, Steal a Taco’ was introduced as a way of celebrating the stolen base, which has declined in numbers over the last two decades, but remains an exciting part of the game for fans,” Taco Bell told The Takeout via email. “Taco Bell’s partnership with Major League Baseball has been a fantastic way to bring sports fans and taco fans together to cheer for the one thing everyone can get behind no matter the jersey on their back: free tacos.”
It’s not Taco Bell’s only sports-related initiative. The company also rewards the most dedicated college football fans with free food via the Live Más Student Section program and has adapted its World Series giveaway for the NBA with the Steal a Game, Steal a Taco (recently renamed NBA Comebacks) promotion—if the team that’s losing in the first half of an NBA Finals game goes on to win in the second half, everyone scores a free taco.
In order to qualify for the free taco, you have to sign up for Taco Bell’s rewards program, which requires your name, birthday, and email (note that you get a free Soft Taco, Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos, or Beefy 5-Layer Burrito just for signing up). Once you’re signed up, simply wait for someone to steal a base during a World Series game.
To increase your chances for free food, you can log into the app and predict who will be this year’s “Taco Hero,” aka the first person to steal a base; you have until 11:59 PT tonight to choose. If you’re correct, you also get a free drink with your taco. Rewards members will have 10 days from the date the base is stolen to redeem their prize.
Going purely by the MLB stats, the Astros’ Kyle Tucker and the Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber could be good bets for Taco Hero—both have a history of postseason steals and each already has one postseason base steal under their belt this year. Or maybe it’s worth putting your money on the rookies, like the Astros’ Jeremy Peña or the Phillies’ Bryson Jeremy Scott, who might be more eager to make big moves during their first World Series game.
But stolen bases have become increasingly rare. As Sean Beckwith at our sister site Deadspin pointed out in May, the influence of easily accessible stats and the overall data-driven approach of modern baseball has left little room for the “fun-yet-stupid play attempts” that keep the game interesting. Stealing bases is one such play. This year, the Marlins’ Jon Berti won the record for most steals of the season, 41 total. The record for most steals in a season hasn’t been broken since 1887 when Hugh Nicol nabbed 138.
Still, according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, every year that Steal a Base, Steal a Taco has been in place, bases have in fact been stolen, and in 2020, the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts became the first-ever two-time Taco Hero. Unfortunately, the fine print states that each Taco Bell rewards member can only redeem one taco per season. Still, customers certainly can’t complain about a free taco.