When a sports team from around here plays in a big contest with a team from elsewhere, Washington politicians usually have to have something riding on the outcome.
In 2007, when the Seahawks played the Chicago Bears in the NFL playoffs, Gov. Chris Gregoire bet salmon and apples against barbecue and hot dogs with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. (Apparently he didn't have any political positions seats to put up that week.)
In 2006, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers bet North Carlina Rep. Patrick McHenry a salmon dinner to a barbecue dinner that the Seahawks would beat the Panthers in the playoffs. She collected. Two weeks later, Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell bet Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum salmon, apples and coffee aganist pierogies and wings, the 'Hawks would beat the Steelers in the Superbowl. They had to pay.
In 2005, when Eastern Washington University's football team played Montana in "the Governor's Cup," she bet a salmon she'd caught against some of Gov. Brian Schweitzer's buffalo steaks.
Friday, Gregoire's office announced she has a bet with North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue on tonight's Gonzaga-North Carolina baskeball game.
Bet you can't guess what she bet...
Potatoes. Against potatoes.
More accurately, Washington-grown Russetts against Carolina Sweet Potatoes. Loser donates to a food bank in the winner's state.
Not sure if this is a "small potatoes" bet or not. The governor's office says they are still coming to terms on the amount of spuds -- a sack? a case? one really big one, like they serve at the fancy steak house with butter, sour cream, bacon, chives, and cheddar? -- riding on the game. (Note to governor: One always gets the amount of the wager clear up front, or at least before tipoff. Many people who have not paid their money for their brackets yet, aren't going to if they had Memphis winning the tournament.)
What do potatoes have to do with the Zags, you may well ask.
Nothing as it turns out. Both states grow potatoes., so it became a relatively easy bet.
At least it's not salmon vs. barbecue. No offense to anadrymous fish and smoked meat, but that routine was getting a bit old.