As a Philadelphian, I'm red-faced about the excruciatingly lame stakes put up by Mayor Nutter in his Stanley Cup championship bet with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.
Here's a partial list of what the Windy City wagered: 100 Italian beef sandwiches, six boxes of 34-ounce, USDA prime ribeye steaks, 100 Italian sausages, 100 gourmet chicken burger "pucks," 10 deep-dish pizzas, 500 slices of strawberry and chocolate-chip cheesecake, 25 gallons of mixed popcorn, three cases of local beer, 49 six-ounce double-cut lamb chops, 25 quarts of ice cream, 10 ounces of toasted macaroni and cheese, eight cases of local coffee and a 50-pound chocolate almond bar.
That's among the three dozen goodies Chi-town will send us if the Flyers win. Some would call the amount of product, um, excessive.
For recessive, we turn to Philly's end of the bet. Let me quote the Official Mayoral Press Release (it's as wordy as Scrabble, and I've saved you the No-Doz by cutting some chunks out):
"Should the Flyers win or lose, Mayor Nutter will volunteer in a community garden with the Mayor's Office of Sustainability . . . If the Flyers win, Mayor Nutter will donate the food grown to Philabundance, the region's largest hunger relief organization whose mission is to end hunger and malnutrition in the Delaware Valley by acquiring food and distributing it through organizations serving people in need. If the Black Hawks [sic] win, Mayor Nutter will donate the food grown to the Greater Chicago Food Depository."
That's it? Local produce? Pathetic. Well-intentioned sap. I was going to ask how much time Nutter will put in with a rake and hoe, and how much produce we'd be sending, but I don't really care. From what I hear, Chicagoans aren't exactly licking their chops.
Halfway through his first term, has Nutter lost all sense of fun? Does everything have to be a "message" about "sustainability" (a word so mercilessly overused our motto should become "City of Brotherly Sustainability"). Don't we ever get a day off from stultifying righteousness?
Has Nutter forgotten what Philadelphia is known for (I mean, other than Liberty, which can be hard to digest)? Is he ashamed of what we really like to eat, because - like Chicago - some (most) of it is high fat, high calorie and heart-stoppingly good? Must the mayor slip into the hairnet of a grade-school lunchroom dietician? (Please spare me the e-mails about how Philly is fat. I know Philly is fat. Embrace it.)
Where're the cheesesteaks or hoagies? Where're the soft pretzels? Where's the water ice, the scrapple, the Philly-brewed beer? Where're the TastyKakes, the Frank's Black Cherry Wishniak soda, the Chickie's & Pete's crabfries?
Anyone can ship stuff from a community garden. What says "Philly" about that?
It's easy to package a "message" with a sense of local pride.
Here's the bet between the Pennsylvania and Illinois governors: The losing chief executive will visit a homeless shelter in the city of the winner, wearing the winning team's jersey, and distribute a culinary classic from his hometown - Ed Rendell will bring cheesesteaks while Pat Quinn has Chicago-style pizza.
Am I being singularly crabby?
I asked Eric Zorn, star columnist of the Chicago Tribune, for his opinion. "Nutter's wager is by far the most pathetic, least inspiring, least gambling-like wager in the entire lame, dumb history of the political stunt that is the mayoral sporting bet," he said. "Can't he at least pledge to putter in his community garden wearing a Blackhawks jersey when the Flyers' inevitable defeat is official?"
Zorn is right - except for the "inevitable defeat" part.
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