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Play Ball! World Series 2017 Sparks Wager Between Two NASA Space Centers
Employees of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are so proud of their LA Dodgers, they even decorated this mock-up of the Curiosity Mars rover in Dodger gear.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Two NASA centers are engaged in a friendly wager as their local teams compete in the World Series of baseball.

NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) is located in Houston, home of the American League baseball team the Astros. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is based in Pasadena, California, about 30 minutes outside Los Angeles, home of the National League Dodgers. The two teams are gearing up for game three of the World Series, which will take place today (Sept. 27). With the series tied one game to one, both teams still have a chance of claiming the championship.  

NASA announced on its website yesterday (Oct. 26) that JSC and JPL have agreed to a small wager based on the outcome of the series: The director of the NASA center with the losing team has to wear the other team's jersey for a day.

Former NASA astronaut Ellen Ochoa is the current director of JSC, while scientist and engineer Michael Watkins is the director of JPL. Somewhat ironically, Ochoa is a native Californian, and Watkins is an alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin. But there seems to be no ambiguity in where the two directors' loyalties lie.

In the statement, Ochoa said she is "glad to have a little fun in challenging a center that, except for this week, is our close partner in exploration. I am looking forward to seeing a little bit of Houston at JPL soon."

Watkins said in the statement that "this is a nice way to have a little fun with our good friends at JSC, and we hope to see some Dodger blue there shortly."

Dedicated space fans will likely feel compelled to cheer for the Astros, a team that was literally named in honor of NASA, according to Ochoa.

The rivalry is going strong on Twitter.

JSC tweeted a picture of a group of employees wearing bright-orange Astros jerseys and standing in front of the center. JPL responded with a photo of employees in the JPL mission control center wearing bright-blue Dodgers jerseys. Ochoa tweeted that Watkins "better get ready to Orange Out," and the JPL Twitter account responded that Ochoa "better get ready to bleed blue."

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