Call it a battle of the banners: Mayor Vincent Gray has bet St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay have bet each other on the outcome of the National League Championship Series.
But instead of food -- a traditional bet among cities facing each other in the playoffs -- or public stunts, they've agreed to fly a flag.
If the Nats win, then a special version of the D.C. flag emblazoned with the District’s “Taxation Without Representation” motto will fly above St. Louis' City Hall. If the Cardinals win, St. Louis’ “three rivers” flag will fly over the John A. Wilson Building.
The bet was an inexpensive one, by the standards set by other cities in playoffs.
Cincinnati and San Francisco's mayors have bet food and youth programs on the outcome of their ongoing playoff rounds: the city whose team loses will host a chili cook-off fundraiser at a fire station, and the proceeds will go to youth programs in the winning city.
Bets for championships can be far more elaborate. When the Giants met the Patriots in the 2012 Super Bowl, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino set a new bar for inter-city bets, with a wager that sent a family from the winning city on a luxe tour of the losing city. The bet included airfare for four, a two-night stay at a luxury hotel, entertainment and museum tours.
But if this D.C./St. Louis early-rounds bet is mild, the trash talk isn't.
"We're no stranger to postseason play in St. Louis," said Mayor Slay in a statement. "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."
Gray shot back: "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!”