Governor dallies on settling his Super Bowl wager

Gov. Jerry Brown won’t be paying off his losing bet on the Super Bowl for a week or so.


Not that Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is griping about it.


Brown said before the game that if the San Francisco 49ers didn’t prevail he would send O’Malley a copy of “California: The Great Exception,” the insightful 1949 examination of what makes the Golden State unique by Carey McWiliams.


“We have not yet received the book. Still awaiting,” said an unperturbed Takirra Winfield, O’Malley’s press secretary.


In a February 1 tweet, Brown said he chose the book because it would demonstrate to O’Malley “California’s exceptionalism, on the field and off.”


The Baltimore Ravens bested the 49ers on February 3, 34 to 31. Only then did Brown order a copy of McWilliams’ book, which will be mailed to O’Malley when it’s received, a Brown spokeswoman said.


It’s unknown if the Democratic governor ordered the book from an independently owned California bookstore, such as The Avid Reader near the Capitol, or purchased the 367-page book online.


Amazon offers the trade paperback edition for $29.20. Selecting One-Day Shipping at checkout would have helped the governor avoid any appearance of welching by having the book in hand by February 7 – if ordered within the requisite number of hours beforehand.


O’Malley was less intellectual – but more hands-on – in his wager.


“I see your book and raise you a case of Natty Boh,” responded O’Malley to Brown’s tweet.


“You could just pull them out of your fridge if you wanted to, right Gov?” said “Mr. Boh,” of National Bohemian Beer, the “official” beer of Baltimore.


O’Malley was called out by the Brewers Association of Maryland because Natty Boh no longer hails “from the land of pleasant living.” Owned by Pabst Blue Ribbon, Baltimore’s “official” beer is now brewed in Eden, North Carolina and Albany, Georgia.


“We call upon (Gov. O’Malley) to change the terms of his Super Bowl bet to beer that is brewed in and supports a (local) economy,” the brewers association chided in their tweet.

Politics being the art of compromise, O’Malley amended his bet to include bottles of Heavy Seas, which is brewed in Baltimore, along with the Natty Bohs.


Unlike Brown who entrusts his payoff to the U.S. Postal Service, O’Malley said he would personally hand the malt beverages to Brown at the upcoming National Governor’s Association Winter Meeting in Washington D.C. on February 23.


Now he doesn’t have to.


This was Brown’s first – public — wager on a sporting event as governor.


Initially, his staff researched laying out a case of California wine on the 49ers but the idea was scotched by O’Malley’s office.


In 2011, O’Malley signed legislation allowing the direct shipment of wine to Maryland residents. The sales tax on alcohol, including wine, increased from 6 percent to 9 percent the same year.


Brown’s predecessors had more experience placing wagers on sporting events.


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger bet Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick locally grown California food and wine donated to a charity of Patrick’s choice if the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals.


Patrick said if the Celtics lost, Legal Sea Foods would donate 17 pounds of clam chowder to a charity chosen by Schwarzenegger.
The Celtics won – their first title since 1986.


A year earlier, Schwarzenegger laid a cornucopia of California goods on the line with the Anaheim Ducks who faced the Ottawa Senators in the Stanley cup Finals.


In addition to a custom-made jacket, Schwarzenegger bet the Canadian Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, Anaheim chiles, boysenberry jam from Knott’s Berry Farm, extra virgin olive oil from UC Davis, California grown rice, strawberries, peaches, plums, nectarines and a case of California wine.


Anaheim beat the Senators in five games. McGuinty sent the Schwarzenegger a month’s supply of Canadian coffee, a sweater and some Ontario wines — including a bottle of ice wine, a sweet wine made from grapes harvested when frozen.


Schwarzenegger also bet on the Rose Bowl with Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, another NBA Finals matchup with then Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and an NCAA men’s basketball final in 2006 in which he put up avocados and asparagus to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s Gatorade, stone crabs and key lime pie.


The 1985 Super Bowl saw the 49ers defeat the Miami Dolphins 38 to 16. California Gov. George Deukmejian won the bet and Florida’s Bob Graham divested himself of some pounds of stone crabs.


The exchange led to this headline in the Sacramento Union:


“Duke Gets Case of Crabs From Florida Exec.”

Ed’s Note: This story also appeared in Greg Lucas’ blog, California’s Capitol.


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