Local cuisine, theater tickets and tree plantings are at stake in a wager between Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on which hockey team, the Bruins or the Blackhawks, will win the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals series that starts Wednesday night.
Emanuel initiated the wager in a letter saying that the Bruins are on a “quest to be the runner up” for the Cup and declared a Bruins victory “very unlikely.”
“Boston is a nice little town, sure, but we thought you might enjoy seeing what it's like in the big city,” Emanuel wrote.
“It’s no surprise that such a verbose letter came from the Windy City,” Menino responded in a letter of his own on Tuesday.
Menino called Emanuel’s wager “an admirable attempt,” pointing out that Emanuel, who became Chicago’s mayor just two years ago, has never before placed a mayor-vs.-mayor wager over a major sports championship series.
For Menino, this is the 11th time since 2001 that one of his city’s major sports teams has made it to the final postseason round. Boston teams have won 7 championships in the 10 completed appearances so far.
“You see, here in Boston, we have sports fans with a little something called heart,” Menino’s letter said. “And so, as one of the country’s winningest mayors (championship titles, municipal elections, etc.), I’d like to offer you the following, though I feel strongly none of these items will be arriving at either of your airports.”
Following a tradition that has become common among key politicians of cities and states competing in major sporting events, the dueling city leaders have agreed that the mayor of whichever city loses will award a list of items to the mayor of the city that wins.
Emanuel said, if the Bruins win, Menino will receive: corned beef sandwiches from Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen; potato pancakes; a couple six-packs of Green Line beer; Goose Island Beer Co. Root Beer; Vosges Haut-Chocolat; Robinsons BBQ sauce; El Milagro tortillas; Al's #1 Italian Beef Sandwiches; Argo Tea; a “touristy” photo of Emanuel at Cloud Gate public sculpture in Chicago, which is nicknamed "the Bean;" tickets to the Steppenwolf Theatre Company; a "Menino 13" Blackhawks jersey; a Revolution Brewing Company T-shirt; a bottle of Sriracha hot sauce “re-gifted from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa” who Emanuel said “sent us way too much stuff after we beat the [Los Angeles] Kings the other day;” and a tree planted in the schoolyard of Menino’s choice, “to highlight our common commitment to education, parks and the environment.”
Menino said, if the Blackhawks win, Emanuel will receive: the “Best of Boston's Local Foods,” foods that are grown or produced in Boston, including some seafood; access to the City of Boston’s website for one day, to post a promotional video touting Chicago and its attractions; two tickets to the Huntington Theatre Company; two tickets to Theo Epstein’s “Hot Stove, Cool Music” concert in Boston; and a tree, to be planted in the schoolyard of Emanuel’s choosing.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Illinois Govenor Pat Quinn have also placed a wager on the Cup series, agreeing that the governor of the losing team’s state will volunteer at a food bank of the winning governor’s choice.