In D.C.’s baseball bet with St. Louis, flags are on the line

October 9, 2012

We have two rivers. They have three. (Wikimedia)

UPDATED 11 A.M.

The announcement is somewhat belated, but the bet is on: D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray has entered into the District’s first civic wager on playoff baseball in at least 79 years.

The terms are these: Should the Cardinals somehow take three of the four two of three remaining National League Division Series games from the Nationals, Gray will fly the official St. Louis flag above the John A. Wilson Building for a day. Known as the “three rivers” flag, it alludes to the confluence of the Mississippi, Missouri and Meramec rivers near St. Louis.

Should the Nats win, St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay (D) will, for a day, fly a D.C. flag above his own City Hall — and not the official D.C. flag, but the modified version with “Taxation Without Representation” written on the two bars of the Washington arms.

That’s a little bit different from the half-smokes-for-toasted-ravioli bet you might have been anticipating. Gray spokesman Pedro Ribeiro said comestible-based gambling is “played out” and that Hizzoner jumped at the chance to expose the Mound City to the D.C. voting rights issue.

“We wanted to make it about more than just food,” he said.

UPDATE, 11 A.M.: Here is the mayoral trash-talking, via a news release:

“We’re no stranger to postseason play in St. Louis,” said Slay. “So, we’re thrilled to show the upstarts how to do it right. I look forward to our City’s flag flying proudly over the John A. Wilson Building when our boys wrap this thing up.”

Said Gray, “I look forward to the citizens of the City of St. Louis getting a lesson not only on the baseball diamond when the Nats take the series, but also in the uniquely unjust situation in which the District’s 618,000-plus residents find ourselves — denied voting representation in Congress and ultimate authority over our own budget and affairs — when our flag flies over Market Street in downtown St. Louis!”

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis | October 9, 2012