Saturday, March 31, 2018

Loyola/Michigan basketball becomes the battle of the deli sandwiches

Just in case anybody had doubts about how significant the Loyola vs. Michigan semi-final game in the NCAA Men’s basketball tourney is to Chicago, we have the latest bit of evidence.
Manny's gets free publicity from latest sporting bet
It’s VERY significant, because the mayors feel compelled to turn it into a sporting bet.

AS IN ONE of those things where the mayor of Chicago feels compelled to defend the honor of the Second City against that of the other city. Which in this case is Ann Arbor, Mich.

And in which case, each of the mayors puts up some food item supposedly significant to the respective city. Somebody supposedly will get to do some good eatin’ depending on who manages to prevail in Saturday’s game that leads up to the NCAA championship game scheduled for Monday.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is willing to buy corned beef and pastrami from Manny’s Deli and send it off to Ann Arbor IF Loyola’s “Cinderella” surprise team finally meets its match to Big 10 powerhouse Michigan.

But if it turns out that Loyola prevails and winds up playing in the championship game against the winner of Kansas/Villanova, then Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor will be sending sandwiches to City Hall from Zingerman’s Deli.

SPECIFICALLY, THE GEORGIA Reuben sandwich – which I’m told is turkey, cheese and cole slaw served on rye bread and slathered with Russian dressing.

It doesn’t sound appetizing to me (something about thick, creamy salad dressings is a turnoff), but I’m told by various University of Michigan alumni that it is a big deal – and something many of them crave when they think back to their collegiate days.
Will Chi win piles of Georgia Reubens?

I’ll have to admit to thinking this particular political bet is a little more intriguing than most. Usually, our public officials manage to put up a generic list of food products that they claim is associated with Chicago.

I remember back in the days of Richard M. Daley as mayor, the bets usually produced something resembling a grocery list that only Chicago-oriented geeks would ever think of buying.

TURNING THE WHOLE spectacle into little more than a marketing ploy – free advertising for Chicago-based companies. Rather than something that anybody with a real sporting interest would have put together.

I’m certainly glad to learn that Chicago isn’t offering to send pizzas to some other city so as to show off the superiority of the local product compared to whatever Little Caesar’s-like product the other city thinks is edible.

Largely because too many Chicagoans can’t agree on what a “real” pizza consists of, or how its slices should be cut (party-style into squares, I argue, and certainly not into triangles that one folds over. That’s playing with one’s food, rather than eating it).

Anything we’d send to another city would create a local conflict over whether we truly sent our best representative of pizza. Unless you’re so convinced that the Chicago-oriented ball club will prevail and we won’t have to send anything!

SO WHAT SHOULD we think of this bet? I like the part where the mayors also say they’ll make a contribution to the charity of the winning city’s choice. Which probably says more than the shipping of sandwiches.

Although to get within the spirit of the event, let’s say that Loyola manages to defeat number 3-seeded Michigan (Loyola’s ranked 11th) and takes on the Kansas/Villanova winner.

Do we get to see our public officials make another bet? I can’t think of anything edible in either of those places. Particularly from anything in and around Lawrence, Kan.

Is this the ultimate Loyola over Villanova prize?
But if it became a matchup between Loyola and Villanova, would we get an Italian beef vs. Philly cheesesteak brawl? If so, we all know the superiority of a “hot, dipped combo” over any gooey mess that becomes a cheesesteak.


No comments: