A couple of days ago, ABC provocateur Jake Tapper challenged NBC political savant Chuck Todd to a facial-hair-based baseball wager: If the Los Angeles Dodgers win in their series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Tapper will grow a goatee. But if the Dodgers lose, Todd has to shave his off. The mere possibility that Todd could actually do such a thing sent shockwaves through the industry: Like the Bible's Samson, Todd's power his very élan vital, if you will is vested entirely within his goatee, and everybody knows it. How else to explain his meteoric rise from under-the-radar Hotline editor to the worldwide phenomenon that he is today? But there's no cause for alarm.
As anyone who follows his consistently sage analysis would know, Todd is too reasoned and levelheaded to leave his fate in the hands of "one-time Phillie castoff Vicente Padilla," as he tweeted on Tuesday. That's why the wager comes with an "important caveat," according to Politico's Mike Allen: "The loser can opt out of the facial-hair action by donating $1,000 to the winner's charity of choice." That's an option that Todd, at least, will surely embrace if he loses, but it does kind of take the suspense out of the whole bet. Though we suspect the purpose of the entire challenge is to provide cover for the boyish-faced Tapper to grow out the goatee he has long desired.