Ever wonder how much of a financial hit corporate sponsors take when a "free taco" or "free pizza" promotion at a baseball game is activated? Like last year's World Series, when an Angel Pagan stolen base got everyone in the country got a free taco from Taco Bell.
Well, as LaRosa's Pizza, a Cincinnati-based pizza chain will tell you, these giveaways can become mighty expensive. LaRosa's has given away more than $100,000 worth of pizza in this young season through a promotion with the Cincinnati Reds.
Anytime Reds pitchers combine to strike out more than 11 batters in a game, ticket-holders get a free eight-inch pizza valued at $6.79. It's happened seven times already this season, in 15 Reds home games. The same promotion was in place last year and only paid out to fans 13 times, LaRosa's says.
So obviously, the Cincinnati pitchers are K-tastic so far this season. On Tuesday, led by Tony Cingrani's nine-strikeout start, The Reds struck out 13 batters total against the Chicago Cubs. They had 16 on Monday. Before that, the Reds struck out more than 11 in three of four games against the Miami Marlins last week. That's free pizza in five of the last six games.
LaRosa's — which isn't Taco Bell size, but does have 65 stores — isn't upset at the Reds' strikeout prowess. In fact, Pete Buscani, LaRosa's executive vice president for marketing, told WLWT: "This is the best promotion we've done in a long time."
The Reds have played more home games than any team in baseball, but they're also second in strikeouts. Heading into Wednesday's action, their total of 195 is only one behind the Boston Red Sox for No. 1 overall.
After Wednesday, the Reds go on the road for 10 games. They only have 11 home games from Thursday until the end of May. So, Reds fans, you'd be advised to find alternative methods to score free grub.