Mayor Tom Bates has bet a case of cabernet sauvignon against 12 bottles of Kentucky bourbon
Mayor Tom Bates has bet 10 bottles of cabernet sauvignon against 10 bottles of Kentucky bourbon

On Sunday, the Cal Bears women’s basketball team will be playing for more than a place in the NCAA championship game. Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates has wagered 10 bottles of Narsai David cabernet sauvignon against Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher’s 10 bottles of Kentucky bourbon that the Bears will prevail in their Final Four match against the Louisville Cardinal.

“All bets are on and I can already taste the bourbon now!” Bates confidently declared. 

The Bears are making their first-ever appearance in the Final Four Sunday in New Orleans. Cal tips off against Louisville at 3:30 p.m. as the favored team on paper — a second seed versus a fifth seed — but while Louisville has upset top seed Baylor and second seed Tennessee to make it to New Orleans, Cal scraped by against lower seeds. Still, winning is what counts. Cal fans hope the Bears rediscover their touch as the top-scoring team in the Pac-12. The other two semi-finalists in New Orleans, Connecticut and Notre Dame, are, like Louisville, from the Big East conference.

Bates’ bet follows a growing tradition of mayors wagering their counterparts on the results of sports events. Before the Super Bowl in February, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee bet Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake a day of service and local seafood — Dungeness crab for Lee and blue crab for Rawlings-Blake.

If Cal wins on Sunday, it’s unclear what Bates could bet against the mayors of Storrs, CT, or South Bend, IN. Suggestions?

Cal women top Georgia, 65-62, head to first Final Four [04.02.13]
Brittany Boyd, a Berkeley role model, makes waves at Cal [03.29.12]

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...