When the Washington Redskins take the field tomorrow, there will be no one rooting louder for the home team than Mayor Marion Barry. He has much at stake.
If the Redskins lose, Barry will have to fly to St. Paul, Minn., during the next snowstorm there, take the driver's seat on a snow plow and spend two hours removing snow from the streets. If the Redskins win, St. Paul Mayor George Latimer will come here during the next snowfall and do the same.
Barry is confident that the Redskins will win the National Football Conference championship, spokesman John C. White said yesterday. This week, the mayor received four large deep-dish pizzas from Chicago's Acting Mayor Eugene Sawyer after the Redskins beat the Bears on Sunday.
"It will be fun to have Marion in the city," Ella Thayer, spokeswoman for Latimer, said yesterday. "Minnesota winters are totally unpredictable. We got 2 1/2 inches earlier this week. We imagine we will get a lot more."
The mayor's gamble is the latest in a week of playful bets and intense jockeying for Redskins tickets in the halls of the District Building.
In addition to the bet with the mayor of St. Paul, Barry has a bet with Minnesota Lt. Gov. Marlene Johnson. He will send her a bushel of crabs if the Redskins lose. If the Redskins win, he gets two smoked pheasants with wild rice.
Council Chairman David A. Clarke and James A. Scheibel, president of the St. Paul City Council, have a $100 bet riding on the game. If the Redskins win, Scheibel will give $100 to My Sister's Place, a shelter for battered women. If the Vikings win, Clarke will send $100 to Mustard Seed, a St. Paul center for homeless families.
Clarke said he gave away his eight tickets to tomorrow's game. "I'd like to go," he said. "But you got to make these choices. When people do things for you, you have to help them out when you can."
Council member H.R. Crawford (D-Ward 7) was telling a reporter about the difficulties of getting tickets when his secretary interrupted. The office of Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke was calling to say, sorry, no tickets available.
"Tell him I was going to vote for the new stadium," Crawford shot back jokingly.