San Jose has made it to the big time. We finally get to bet with another city on a major sports championship.
There are four wagers out there on the Sharks and the Penguins between mayors, counties, senators and even the convention and visitors’ bureaus. The traditional bets, always about civic promotion, give politicians a chance to talk a lot of trash without risking any political capital.
“There’s no chance for a penguin against a shark, either in nature or on the ice,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in announcing his bet. Now that was before the Sharks fell one game down to Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Final, and it pales in comparison to the Bay Area’s best mayoral sports smackdown.
Back in 1989 when the Giants and A’s faced off in the World Series, San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos famously said he wasn’t making a bet with Oakland Mayor Lionel Wilson because there was nothing in Oakland he wanted. Oh, snap. It turns out, of course, that San Francisco really wanted the Warriors (and you can expect a whole round of bets for the Dubs’ NBA Finals rematch with Cleveland).
So what has Liccardo put on the line with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto? The loser has to take a picture wearing the winner’s jersey and post it on social media the day after series, as well as making an unspecified donation to the winner’s charity of choice and sending a basket of local goodies to the winner.
Liccardo picked Destination: Home as his charity of choice and his loser’s basket will include favorites like Gordon Biersch garlic fries and beer as well as La Victoria orange sauce. What other items should San Jose put up for its bet? Email me with your suggestions at email@example.com.
The bet that Team San Jose CEO Karolyn Kirchgesler made with VisitPITTSBURGH CEO Craig Davis also includes La Vic’s orange sauce, plus J. Lohr wine and manju from San Jose’s Japantown. Throw in an order from House of Pizza and some Greenlee’s cinnamon bread, and you’ve got the makings of a good meal.
When the Sharks pull out their comeback victory, Team San Jose will be collecting sandwiches from Primanti’s Bros., a burnt almond torte from Prantl’s Bakery and pierogies from Pierogies Plus. By law, apparently, every business in Pittsburgh is required to start with a P.Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese has also made a bet, but he’s taken the high road instead of proposing something like having the loser take a bath in the Alviso Slough or Allegheny River.
Instead, the “bet” between Cortese and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald involves both counties collecting donations for Boys and Girls Clubs recreation programs. In San Jose, they’re collecting new and gently used equipment for flag football, soccer, basketball, wrestling, baseball and tennis in the first-floor lobby of the County Government Center at 70 W. Hedding St. (No hockey equipment, as the Sharks Foundation already takes care of that.)
Cortese and Fitzgerald will deliver the donations wearing the jersey of the winning team while no doubt singing “It’s a Small World.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, meanwhile, showed why she’s been the quintessential California politician for more than a generation. When Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey bet a bottle of Pittsburgh-produced Wigle Whiskey on the Penguins, Feinstein shot back on Twitter that she was backing up the Sharks with a whole case of California chardonnay. A case versus a bottle? That’s like giving him odds — and then she talked a little smack in a news release.
“During this year’s playoff run, the Sharks have shown that they can skate with any team,” Feinstein said in the release. “Up and down the lineup they have players with character, grit and determination — not to mention the best playoff beards in the league! The Penguins may have star power, but I don’t think they can match our depth.”
I’m pretty sure the closest DiFi’s ever been to SAP Center is Palo Alto, but we welcome the senator to the Team Teal bandwagon nonetheless. She should just be sure to pass around that bottle when she gets it.
Contact Sal Pizarro at firstname.lastname@example.org.