They are wagering seafood, beer, and theater tickets, but ultimately at stake in the bet between the mayors of Chicago and Boston over hockey’s Stanley Cup Final is hometown pride.
Chicago’s first-term mayor, Rahm Emanuel, started things off Tuesday in a letter to the Hub’s longest-serving mayor, Thomas M. Menino, saying the Bruins were on a “quest to be the runner-up” and declared a victory over the Blackhawks “very unlikely.”
“Boston is a nice little town, sure, but we thought you might enjoy seeing what it’s like in the big city,” said Emanuel’s lengthy missive, posted on the Chicago Mayor’s Office Facebook page.
“It’s no surprise that such a verbose letter came from the Windy City,” Menino responded in a letter of his own, posted on the City of Boston’s website.
Menino called Emanuel’s wager “an admirable attempt,” saying that Emanuel, who became Chicago’s mayor two years ago, has never placed a mayor-vs.-mayor wager over a major sports championship series.
“You see, here in Boston, we have sports fans with a little something called heart,” Menino’s letter said. “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.”
The dueling city leaders have agreed that the mayor of whichever city loses will award items to the mayor of the city that wins.
Based on the lists, Emanuel has a lot more to lose.
If the Bruins win, Menino will receive corned beef sandwiches from Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen, potato pancakes, a couple of six-packs of Green Line beer and Goose Island root beer, Vosges Haut-Chocolat, Robinson’s BBQ sauce, El Milagro tortillas, Al’s #1 Italian Beef Sandwiches, and Argo Tea.
Menino will also get a “touristy” photo of Emanuel at a sculpture in Chicago nicknamed “the Bean,” tickets to the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, a “Menino 13” Blackhawks jersey, a Revolution Brewing Co. 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 Kings,” and a tree for the schoolyard of Menino’s choice “to highlight our common commitment to education, parks, and the environment.”
If the Blackhawks win, Menino said Emanuel will receive the “Best of Boston’s Local Foods” 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 choice.
The governors of Massachusetts and Illinois have also placed a wager on the Stanley Cup series, agreeing that the head of the losing team’s state will volunteer at a food bank of the winning governor’s choice.
Neither mayor admitted the possibility of defeat as the first game of the best-of-seven series was set to begin.
“Let me know what you think,” Emanuel wrote, signing off. “We’ll see you guys on the ice.”
“I look forward to receiving your package,” Menino responded. “Please use ground transport as I would like to avoid any weather delays.”
Matt Rocheleau can be reached at at firstname.lastname@example.org.