You might think this year's World Series is about a battle for Major League Baseball supremacy between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers, but there's something much more important going on here. The winner will also determine which one of NASA's major space centers gets to walk away with bragging rights.
NASA's Johnson Space Center, home to the astronaut corps, is located in Houston. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), home base for the Mars rovers, is in Pasadena, California, which puts it in the Los Angeles area.
The two space hubs now have a friendly bet riding on the World Series outcome. If the Astros win, then Johnson Space Center director Ellen Ochoa will wear a Dodgers jersey for a day. If the Dodgers win, then JPL director Michael Watkins will don an Astros jersey.
The NASA groups are using the hashtag #outofthisworldseries on Twitter. Johnson Space Center issued an initial challenge on Twitter along with a photo of employees decked out in Astros orange:
JPL was quick to respond with an acceptance and a sea of Dodgers blue:
Ochoa and Watkins engaged in some pretty minor trash talking while making the wager. Ochoa notes the Astros are named in honor of the Johnson Space Center and says 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 responded with, "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." That's about as friendly and polite as sports wagers could possibly get.
The best-of-seven series is currently tied at one game apiece with the third game set for Friday night in Houston.
NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, currently orbiting Earth on the International Space Station, shared a look at the World Series stadiums from space earlier this week:
No matter who wins, there won't be a loser at NASA. Ochoa may be running the Houston facility, but she's originally from California. Watkins graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. NASA makes sure to point out, "Rather than rivals, JSC and JPL are close teammates in expanding our knowledge of the universe and increasing the limits humanity explores."
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