Joseph Chan’s goal on Tuesday afternoon was to make history.
While others keep signed baseballs in their trophy cases at home, the San Mateo resident who works with the San Francisco 49ers wanted to become the first person to have a signed Doritos Locos Taco by a World Series Champion.
And really, how many baseball fans can claim that?
So, dressed in his red jacket and donning his lucky San Francisco Giants baseball cap, Chan got to the Taco Bell off of El Camino Real in Redwood City and waited for Giants centerfielder Angel Pagan to arrive at 2:30 p.m.
Chan got to the door at 9 a.m.
"Pagan,” he said. "That’s why I came out here for.”
Chan wasn’t alone. An estimated 1,100 Giants/Taco Bell fans made their way to the eatery Tuesday afternoon to catch a glimpse of the ball player who, with a swipe of second base in Game 2 of the 2012 World Series, set off a taco frenzy. Pagan’s steal was the first of the series and thus, won a free Doritos Locos Taco for every single person in the U.S.
The giveaway is nice. But having Pagan, the newly crowned world champion in the house to serve tacos and sign autographs in Redwood City, made it so much tastier.
"It’s pretty crazy,” said Redwood City resident Sean Stangl. "We’ve been here since 9:30 this morning. Hopefully, people have the mentality of having a a good time and realize why we’re here.”
Stangl has been a fan of the Giants since he was 5-years old. And just like 2010 when San Francisco won its first world title, Stangl is enjoying every bite of this journey.
"This year is a little different given the adversity the team had to go through,” he said. "It feels good. I’m just as excited. Maybe even more so because it’s two out of three [years]. In baseball, you win two out of three World Series, you’re talking about a real dynasty. It’s great to see what will happen next.”
Pagan arrived at 2:30 p.m. to a crowd that wrapped around the newly renovated Taco Bell, down Buckingham Street, up El Camino Real and into the A-Crane Locksmith business next door. Pretty soon, Redwood City police, along with the help from the sheriff’s department and the California Highway Patrol, had to close off traffic through Buckingham and around Blenheim Street as well.
Taco Bell general manager Nelson Santos said he was informed Monday night via email that his restaurant was chosen to host the special event; calling it pure luck. From there, it was a matter of making sure he was fully staffed in anticipation of the hungry crowd. By promotion’s end (6 p.m.), Santos said he expected to serve over 3,000 Doritos tacos.
Yes, that’s a whole lot of hot sauce.
"I stole it for the team,” Pagan said while donning a Taco Bell shirt and hat after taking an order at the drive thru window and moving over to make some Doritos Locos Tacos for all the cameras in the kitchen. "I stole it to win the ball game. It was a great opportunity to get something going. But after that, my agent called me and told me it was an important one because I just won tacos for everybody in the United States. So, I feel happy. I feel happy that I brought everybody together in the United States and it’s a great moment for all America.”
And surely San Francisco fans are only beginning to bask in their championship moment as they prepare for the World Series Parade and rally today off of Market Street, up McAllister and toward the Civic Center.
"It’s a dream come true,” Pagan said of winning the World Series. "To come a long way with my teammates. Everything starts in spring training, getting ready for the season, having the dream to make it to the postseason and have a good season. But to go all the way is priceless.
"The chemistry of this team is unbelievable. And ever since we got Hunter [Pence] and [Marco] Scutaro, it just got better. It was special. It made us better players. And thanks to that, we never gave up, we never thought about going home. We thought about winning one game at a time. And now look at us, we won the World Series.”
After scooping meat into a crispy Dorito shell in the kitchen, Pagan sat and fans poured in from outside to take a picture and have some memorabilia signed by Pagan.
"It’s awesome,” Pagan said. "It’s very appreciative because we play for the fans. We play to be a winning team for the fans and they have given us a lot of support throughout the whole season and this victory is for them.
"This is a blessed city with great fans. The truth is, it was a dream come true. I’ve always said that you can dream this as a child, but until you live it in the flesh, you can’t feel how special it is. And the truth is, it’s made me a better ball player and it’ll make me work hard every year to get back here.”
And so, Chan rounded the booth in Taco Bell and headed to his seat next to Pagan where he pulled out his Doritos Locos Taco from a Big Box and smiled while the centerfielder and Chan made a bit of culinary history.
"It was fantastic,” Chan said. "We’re getting some tacos in the neighborhood.”
Without a doubt, it’s the most delicious taco Chan has ever had — shell, meat, lettuce, salsa and a splash of World Series mojo.