Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ted Gets Took on Beavers Bowl Bet

For those of you not familiar with the millieu of postseason sports contests, if the game is a big enough one, typically politicians representing the two teams lay down a wager against each other, usually putting up native goods and treasures rather than money. (If UNLV ever gets back to a championship, maybe the mayor of Las Vegas will offer a comped weekend at the Bellagio, $500 in chips and two passes to see Prince.) Often the wager is in the form of epicurean delights, and that means that whenever an Oregon team finds itself in a postseason contest worthy of an inter-city bet--as both the Ducks and Beavers are this month--the politico from the other team better come correct.

Why? Because Oregon food products kick ass. You know it, I know it, cooking professionals from around the world know it. Free range meats? Check. Wild seafood? Check. Produce to die for? Checkereeno. Wine? You betcha. Beer? Wigga, please. Heck, the best part about beating an Oregon team may be having Ted Kulongoski pay up.

So in a press release befitting the slow news week before Christmas, Ted has announced the betting stakes for the Beavers game at the "Brut" Sun Bowl in El Paso, versus Missouri next Friday:
“Although I may feel a twinge of regret when my alma mater goes down, Governor Blunt has agreed to provide a nice selection of products from Missouri to help me savor our victory,” said Governor Kulongoski, who was raised in Missouri and received his bachelors and law degree from the University of Missouri.

As part of the wager, Governor Blunt has offered Kulongoski a selection of Missouri branded beef, award-winning Missouri wines and an AgriMissouri basket containing Show Me BBQ, Fitz’s Root Beer, blueberry amaretto syrup from Persimmon Hill Gourmet Foods and apple butter from Bekemeier’s Fruit Butters if the Beavers triumph.

In the event of a Tiger victory, Governor Kulongoski has agreed to provide Blunt with a bounty of Oregon goods including a large selection of premium Oregon craft microbrews from the Oregon Brewer’s Guild, three full wheels of globally-recognized Rogue Creamery bleu cheese, and a sampling of fresh Oregon seafood.
Geez, not even the President has had to struggle with a trade imbalance this bad. OK, I'll give Missouri the barbecue; Kansas City has some of the best anywhere, and Oregon doesn't even register on the map. But root beer? Hello, where do you think Henry Weinhard's comes from (Well, OK--Tumwater, WA these days...but damned if we're not taking credit for Henry in Oregon!) This prominent taster considers it among the top 10 nationwide. Or how about my personal favorite, Mt. Angel Root Beer, at 19th place? (Fitz's? 30th place.)

"Award-winning" Missouri wine? Who's giving out the awards, Yogi Berra (born in St. Louis)? I did a quick scan of the 100 best wines of 2005 in the entire world, according to Wine Spectator. You know how many Oregon wines make the list? Four--at #17, 36, 51 and 75 (trailing only California for US wines). I looked extra hard to find that top-notch Missouri wine in the rankings...so sorry, there wasn't one. What else are they offering up from the show-me state? Blueberries and apples. Yeah, can't find those fresh in Oregon anywhere, can ya? Missouri's governor has gone fruit loops if he thinks his stuff beats out the actual Fruit Loop.

What does Missouri get if the Beavers lose? Some of the best beer in the nation, from the state that has more breweries per capita than any other in the US. Kick-ass cheese. And succulent dungeness crab, since we're in season. How is that fair? If these were two prize packages in the Price is Right showcase showdown, I wouldn't even deign to bid on Missouri's offering. If the men's 10,000-meter winner at Prefontaine got Oregon's package and the women's winner got Missouri's, she'd sue. If we sent Missouri's basket to Guantanamo, they'd hunger strike. If a death row prisoner asked for Missouri's gifts as a last meal, they'd retroactively find him not guilty via insanity. Rachel Ray's "Cooking with Missouri's Delicacies" show would get her cancelled--not only on the Food Network, but they'd kill her talk show, too.

Sheesh--if the Beavers win, that will simply have to be its own reward. Maybe it was his crappy offering that causeed Kulongoski's staff to misspell Missouri's governor's name (it's Blount, not Blunt).** Or maybe they had blunts on the brain*; with the pipeline of "BC bud" coming down from Canada, ours are probably better than Missouri's as well. Ted, if the Beavers lose, no one will blame you if you welsh on the bet (and share Oregon's basket with us!)

*disclaimer--I neither have any personal knowledge of blunts, nor do I have any evidence the members of Ted's staff have, either. Although that would explain his idea about granting transferrability to Measure 37 claimants...

**my bad--his name is actually Blunt. I did double check the name, and found no shortage of mainstream media references to "Matt Blount," but his own website calls him Blunt, so I'm guessing I'm wrong.