Message to Gavin Newsom: Don't Make Flag Bet With Philly
The cleverer version of the old saying goes just so: It's not whether you win or lose, but whether you win.
Gavin Newsom won -- and thank goodness for it, because his little wager was indexed to the San Francisco Giants winning, too. Per his bet with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Newsom sent a Giants flag to Georgia to be flown above Atlanta's City Hall. Had San Francisco choked, we'd be tomahawk-chopping at a Braves banner above 1 Carlton B. Goodlett Place.
Cute -- but heavy handed. Flying a flag over City Hall encroaches into the public sphere; not only is Reed humiliated here, so are the people of Atlanta. So when Newsom and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter come up with a wager over the pending National League Championship Series, let's hope it involves these two men. And not their cities.
As a longstanding Giants fan, I, for one, would not appreciate walking up the steps of City Hall and seeing a red-and-white Phillies flag fluttering in the wind. In addition to being frustrated -- it'd mean the Giants lost -- I'd also feel imposed upon. You or I are free to bet on the NLCS -- but we can't subject the people of this city to the whims of our wager. If Gavin Newsom wants to fly a Braves or Phillies flag over his own home, that's one thing. But he doesn't own City Hall.
There are any number of good-natured yet humiliating things Newsom and Nutter could subject one another to. Losing mayor has to wear the opposing team's cap all day. Losing mayor has to wear opposing team tie for a week. Loser has to donate money to the other city's hospital fund. Newsom has to eat a cheese steak in public and not purge afterward. Newsom has to pay Lenny Dykstra's bail/legal fees for a week.
Newsom seems to be a great fan. The Giants cap he wears around when in "informal mode" suits him. And if he wants to risk personal humiliation by making a bet about a baseball series over which he has no control -- well, then we'd think more of him. But hands off City Hall.
Update, 3 p.m. Newsom and Nutter have made a bet -- and it's along the lines of one we mentioned in the story above. Their version is better, however. From a press release:
Mayor Gavin Newsom and Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter today agreed to a friendly wager as the National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies begins on Saturday that also spotlights an issue important to both mayors - support for returning military veterans.
At an upcoming event in support of local veterans on or around Veterans Day, both mayors will wear the baseball cap of the winning Mayor's city. Both cities provide comprehensive support and services to returning service men and women. Earlier this week, Mayor Newsom joined the Iraq-Afghanistan Veterans Association (IAVA) to launch a first-of-its-kind 311 portal to connect San Francisco's returning military veterans with support, services and opportunities.