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Members of Congress trash-talk and bet on Dodgers-Mets series

Members of Congress trash-talk and bet on Dodgers-Mets series
Helmets and gloves are stored in the dugout at Dodger Stadium. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Major League Baseball playoffs are here. This means one thing above all else: an onslaught of quirky sports bets between politicians from competing cities.

With the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets set to meet Friday at Dodger Stadium for Game 1 of the National League Division Series, the latest workplace wager is between House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles and his deputy, Rep. Joe Crowley of New York.

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Crowley was born and raised in Queens and the Metropolitans' home, CitiField, lands inside his 14th congressional district. Becerra represents prime Dodger territory — including Dodger Stadium itself, Elysian Park and Northeast L.A.

What are they wagering? A meal, of course.

"New York's finest? L.A.'s finest?" Becerra asks in a video announcing the wager.

"I look forward to eating a little authentic West Coast Mexican," Crowley responds, playing along.

Becerra feels good with a Dodgers playoff rotation headlined by ace Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Brett Anderson. (Follow our coverage here.)

"This is our year," he said in a statement. "The Dodgers have talent, chemistry and ganas."

Crowley maintains his faith in the historically woebegone Mets as the team mounts its first post-season campaign since 2006.

‎"Being a Mets fan has taught me the qualities that I lean on every day in Congress: humility, compassion and, particularly with the Mets, perseverance. But it's also taught me to enjoy the little things — like whooping your colleague in a friendly bet," Crowley said in a statement.

Crowley is a big baseball guy and known as a rather intense regular at the annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.

"We're so psyched," Crowley told Roll Call before last year's game, which the Democrats dominated. "The adrenaline's pumping. You're running from votes, you're changing in the car, you're running into the stadium. There's no time to warm up, the game starts. You're just, like, pumping. All those people there!"

No word yet on where the colleagues will take each other to eat when the series ends.

The pair aren't the only politicians on Capitol Hill in a betting mood.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) will fly fresh bagels straight from the Big Apple to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) if the Dodgers prevail. Schiff will send the New York lawmaker gourmet popcorn from Pauline's Premier Sweets in Burbank should the Mets win the series.

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The loser will also wear the tie of the winner's team and deliver a one minute speech on the House floor "extolling the virtues" of the winning team.

"Please make sure the lox is fresh, Steve," Schiff said in a statement.

This political wagers seem rather tame compared with crazier entries of the last 30 years.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell once had to sing the national anthem at a Boston Celtics game against the Philadelphia 76ers after the Philadelphia Eagles lost the 2005 Super Bowl to the New England Patriots.

But at least the congressional colleagues accepted the bet — St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay actually turned down Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's wager offer in 2013 when the Dodgers and Cardinals met in the National League Championship Series.

"We've had all sorts of success over the years, and the Cardinals spoil us," a Slay spokeswoman told the Daily Breeze. "The mayor is tired of collecting on all these bets. We appreciate it, but sorry, no more bets."

The Cardinals beat the Dodgers 4-2 in that series.

Follow @jpanzar 

For more, go to www.latimes.com/politics.

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