Tacos! Tacos for everyone!
Sound familiar? This was the proclamation two years ago when Mookie Betts stole the first base in the 2018 World Series, allowing for Taco Bell's one-free-taco-for-all promotion kick in. Two years later, Betts allowed for the same euphoria.
First came the fifth-inning steal of second in Game 1 of Tuesday night's World Series, and then there was the swipe of third. Betts had fed the nation once again.
But while most were charting their Wednesday courses for the fast food joint, another notable conversation was surfaced thanks to Betts' baserunning. As it turns out, it was the first time a player had walked and proceeded to steal two bases in a World Series inning since somebody named Babe Ruth accomplished the feat in 1921.
“He does things on the baseball field that not many people can do,” said Betts' teammate Clayton Kershaw after the Dodgers' Game 3 8-3 win over the Rays.
“He's a superstar talent, but he does all the little things right. And you can really learn from that when a guy's that good and he just wants to win,” Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger said. “He just continues to do the small things that go unnoticed by a lot of people.”
Do think that's what Wally Pipp and the boys were echoing about their 26-year-old teammate 99 years ago? Probably.
For Red Sox fans, the sights and sounds of the World Series opener were nothing new. After a rocky start to his career as a major league baserunner Betts had emerged into one of the game's best on the bases, as was also evidenced when he darted home from third in that same fifth inning on a routine ground ball to first base.
There was also, of course, a home run in the next inning from Betts after the steals to make sure everyone was truly paying attention.
Simply put, it was the image of the best player in baseball. And the Red Sox chose to trade him.
Sorry, but as promising as Alex Verdugo might be this one might hurt for Red Sox followers more than most anticipated. The Ruth-to-the-Yankees kind of hurt? As long as Mookie is this Mookie, it's going to be part of the conversation. Heck, even before Game 1 Betts' teammate David Price could be heard on Jayson Stark's podcast hinting at such a comparison.
StarK: "How will the Red Sox and Red Sox fans look back at that trade?"
Price (after praising Verdugo): "For Boston fans I think that is a tough pill to swallow. To have a player like Mookie Betts and trade him away, that's tough."
Stark: "I've seen people compare it to the Babe Ruth trade."
Price: "I understand that. Mookie's that good, period. That's just not something you expect to happen with an organization like Boston. You expect a player like Mookie to be there forever. And that wasn't the way it happened, and it wasn't the way it happened with Babe Ruth. And it is remembered daily."
Well, it is certainly remembered today. At least Red Sox fans have free tacos.