Credit: Photograph by Darrow Montgomery

The Nationals had better improve their play after last night’s dismal 12-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, because this series isn’t about just getting further in the playoffs anymore. Now, the Nationals are playing for D.C. voting rights.

That’s because Mayor Vince Gray has made a bet with St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay over the series, which is currently tied at 1-1. If the Cardinals win, St. Louis’ flag will fly over the John A. Wilson Building. But if the Nationals win, the District’s flag, bedecked in with the “No Taxation Without Representation” slogan, will fly in St. Louis.

“We’re thrilled to show the upstarts how to do it right,” St. Louis’ Slay says in a press release. “I look forward to our City’s flag flying proudly over the John A. Wilson Building when our boys wrap this thing up.”

Unacceptable! What say you, Mayor Gray? And could you include some voting rights boilerplate in your trash talk?

“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,” Gray says in the same statement.

Is there a big city tradition more enjoyable than a sports bet between mayors? A little more civic pride is at stake, the mayor comes off like a nice guy, and you can forget for a minute that your mayor is a power player surrounded by cronies, campaign donations, and—-in our case—-federal investigations.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery