The low-budget Tampa Bay Rays (28th highest payroll in baseball) have returned to the World Series to vie for the franchise’s first championship against the storied and expensive Los Angeles Dodgers (2nd highest payroll.)
The two will face off in Tuesday night’s Game 1 in a historic season played amid a global pandemic. But there are other stakes, like civic pride — and shrimp and beer.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman on Tuesday threw down the gauntlet, declaring on Twitter that if the Rays lose to the Dodgers, he will send Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti some Yucatan Shrimp from Doc Fords on the St. Pete Pier along with some local craft beer and art.
Kriseman invited Tampa Mayor Jane Castor to join the wager. She tweeted that Tampa will offer Cuban cigars, Tampa’s own craft beer and a Rays face covering to help keep Los Angeles' mayor safe.
Garcetti did not respond on Twitter. But Kriseman said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference that the Los Angeles mayor wagered Dodger dogs, salsa and — you guessed it — craft beer.
Kriseman and Garcetti are buddies, having traveled to Israel together last year. Kriseman said having Garcetti on the other side “makes it a lot more fun.” He said he’d spend the whole series prodding his friend, making jokes that the Dodgers should have stayed in Brooklyn.
After a stressful American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros, in the which the Rays gave up a 3-0 series lead before winning in seven games, Kriseman said he hoped the World Series wouldn’t come down to another Game 7.
St. Petersburg’s mayor predicted the Rays would win the series in six games, and then Sunshine City could start planning a socially-distanced victory celebration.
While Kriseman didn’t make a bet with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner — with whom he said he is also friendly — he did want to send a Turner a gift.
“After the first three games, I was dreaming of the possibility of sending him a broom,” Kriseman said. "I didn’t get to do that.”