Editors in Sacramento and Kansas City wager on Super Bowl winner. Citrus for BBQ?

Joe Davidson, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in Football

In sports media, you're not supposed to openly pull or root for a winner. But in a newsroom setting, away from the sports department? Who are we fooling here?

Game on, people.

When it comes to this Super Bowl in Miami, two McClatchy newsrooms will be glued to the action amid editing copy, laying out sections and uploading stories and photos. The editors of The Sacramento Bee and The Kansas City Star have waged a friendly wager on the game between the 49ers and the Chiefs.

No betting odds. Just a straight-up winner, with a heavy emphasis on food and gloat. Doesn't any newsroom hungers for the truth? They also hunger for anything tasty. No one was interested in doling out media-logo magnets for the fridge or T-shirts for the kids. Typically, the losers of a bet have to supply something. In this case, it will be the winners offering up condolences so fans can drown their tears in calories.

If the 49ers prevail, Lauren Gustus of The Bee has offered up a truck load of this region's best farmer's market-sourced citrus. Oranges, grape fruits, lemons. And there's rumors some of the area's best wine might be included in the shipment.

"California produces more food across the country than any other state," Gustus said. "We're known for the food center. We have tremendous citrus seasons. Let's get a little of that sunshine over Kansas City's way."

Star editor Mike Fannin has ponied up a barbecue spread from Kansas City for a mob of 50 Bee newsroom folks. Kansas City has also offered to send corn bake and beans for the vegetarians in The Bee news room.

OK, pass the napkins, but really. Isn't this a one-sided deal. Lemons for ribs?

"I should say that we'd like the produce of the more crushed-grapes variety -- wine!" Fannin said. "Barbecue for 30 pounds of citrus? I think our friends in Sacramento are getting a better deal. We can still work on this. My theory is there will people in The Bee newsroom, your barbecue fans, who will be cheering for the Chiefs. They'll lead with their stomachs."


Said Gustus, "I'm not sure the Kansas City newsroom is as excited about oranges as we are about barbecue. We may slip in some wine or some California beer."

Gustus and Fannin are both one-time sports editors. They understand the sports grind and how fan bases soak up the coverage.

The Bee has for decades covered the 49ers inside-out, home and away, training camp through seven Super Bowl appearances. The Kansas City Star has done the same since the Chiefs were born in 1960, with comprehensive coverage through the good years, the lean years and the really lean years.

The Super Bowl drought ended for the Chiefs on Sunday with an AFC Championship conquest of Tennessee. The Chiefs are back on the grand stage for the first time in 50 years, long before editors emailed each other about bets.

"I've got reporters wearing Chiefs jerseys when it comes to Red Friday," Fannin said with a laugh. "Not sports reporters, mind you. They're still very objective."

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