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For a part of me has always found it silly to see two political people try to mooch some public attention off of a ballgame, and also for the two public officials to get contributions from local corporate entities to provide the actual payoff.
IT’S NOT LIKE Mayor Rahm Emanuel was offering anything out of his own pocket to the mayor of St. Louis if the Cardinals manage to whomp all over the Cubs – and if the owners of the McNally’s tavern in the Morgan Park neighborhood wind up losing their shirts from all the free beer they give away IF lots of Cardinal home runs wind up leading to a Cubs defeat.
But while Emanuel offered a bet with the mayor of St. Louis tied to the results of the playoffs that will run into next week, it seems Francis Slay won’t play along.
Slay let it be known on Friday that he’s not interested in offering up a St. Louis-themed payoff – in the event the Cubs prevail.
Perhaps the idea of a Lou Malnati’s pizza and Portillo’s Italian beef combo, chicken vesuvio from Harry Caray’s restaurant, a Cubbie-blue Eli’s cheesecake, tickets to the top of the Willis Tower and a river cruise along with a financial contribution to a youth-related charity just didn’t appeal to a city that thinks of fried ravioli and Anheuser-Busch beer products as haute cuisine.
THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE reported how Slay didn’t offer up a reason for his rejection of a bet. Although the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported back in 2013 that Slay also refused to make a bet with Boston Mayor Tom Menino on the World Series that year.
As he put it back then, not engaging in gambling, “frees up time of staffers,” while also jokingly saying that making bets on behalf of the Cardinals (with their history of National League championships) “isn’t fair to other mayors.”
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It’s just that the overly-commercial nature of these bets makes them seem all kind of phony – as though Emanuel who has never hid his lack of intense interest in sports is trying to buy an “every man” image. Even though anybody who backed him for office probably did so because he isn’t every man.
It makes me wonder that should it turn out the Cubs manage to beat both St. Louis and the winner of the Los Angeles/New York playoff matchup to win their first National League championship since 1945, would Emanuel actually show up for any World Series games played at Wrigley Field?
I COULD EASILY envision the boos roaring down from the stands if Rahm were to show his face at the ballpark, trying to pretend that wearing a Cubs warmup jacket somehow makes him seem like a real baseball fan!
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Maybe on some level, Emanuel would be spared that spectacle if the St. Louis Cardinals were to prevail. Or would Rahm prefer it if the Cubs won a round – then lost to either Los Angeles or New York?
Anything to spare him a World Series spectacle!
Of course, if he didn’t show up at the ballpark for a Chicago-based World Series, that would be even worse for him. There are those baseball-oriented people who STILL rant nearly four decades later about the fact that then-President Jimmy Carter only attended one ball game during his entire presidency.
AND THAT DIDN’T come until the next-to-last year in office, when Carter attended the final game in which Willie Stargell’s Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Baltimore Orioles (which used to be considered D.C.’s “hometown” team).
So what does it really mean that we won’t have a mayoral bet on this round of playoffs that feeds off the natural rivalry between Chicago and St. Louis as for who’s the dominant Midwestern city?
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Maybe something more honest than pseudo-bets that are nothing more than free advertising for local businesses. Although when Slay refused to make a bet two years ago, a St. Louis alderman rose up to bet with a Boston councilman.
Perhaps Tom Tunney, the 44th Ward alderman whose ward includes Wrigley Field, ought to be making a bet with a St. Louis counterpart – offering up some of the famed cinnamon rolls from his Ann Sathers restaurant as the Chicago payoff!