House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wants to win.
Not only the midterm elections next week. But the speaker is nearly as passionate about her hometown San Francisco Giants as she is about House Democrats.
And Pelosi's Giants square off tonight in game one of the World Series against the Texas Rangers at San Francisco's AT&T Park.
A Baltimore native, the speaker says that she grew up a Baltimore Orioles fan. In fact her father, former Baltimore Mayor Thomas D'Alessandro, is credited with helping negotiate a deal with then-St. Louis Browns' owner Bill Veeck to lure his club to play in the Charm City and become the Orioles in the mid-1950s.
But back home, Pelosi is an ardent Giants fan. She regularly attends Giants games when home in San Francisco. And she caught two Giants-Braves playoff games earlier this month.
Pelosi even keeps a ball signed by Giants legend Willie Mays in her Capitol Hill office. She once brought the ball to a news conference to make a point about social policy.
It's a time-honored Capitol Hill tradition for lawmakers to place a friendly wager on sporting events in which their teams play for a championship. The sport rarely matters, whether it's the World Series, Super Bowl, or Stanley Cup finals.
So it's only natural that Pelosi would place a bet with a Dallas-Fort Worth area lawmaker over this year's World Series.
However, what is surprising is who the speaker decided to make a wager with: Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX).
Back in June, Barton, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, scored major headlines when he apologized to former BP CEO Tony Hayward during a hearing examining the oil rig explosion and spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
"I think that Mr. Barton's comments fit comfortably among the leadership of the Republicans in the House of Representatives," said Pelosi when asked about it during a press conference at the time. The Speaker went on to call out Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) for claiming the Obama Administration was "shaking down" BP with its "Chicago-style" politics.
"People in the Gulf are suffering from BP's negligence and recklessness. Republicans in Congress are apologizing to BP," Pelosi said.
Barton's apology not only drew Pelosi's ire, but a rebuke from the GOP House leadership.But that was some months ago. And now Pelosi and Barton have shaken hands over the Giants-Rangers World Series. If the Rangers capture their first World Series title, Pelosi will reward Barton with a supply of San Francisco's famous Ghirardelli chocolates. If the Giants snare their first title since moving west from New York, Barton will present the speaker with deep-dish, pecan pie from the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, TX.
This will be the Giants' fourth World Series appearance since moving to San Francisco in 1958. They last won the World Series as the New York Giants in 1954. The Rangers have never won, even when they were known as the second-version of the Washington Senators in the 1960s and early ‘70s."While Texas is famous for its two-step, I am about to show Congressman Barton my own," said Pelosi in a statement about the bet. "First the Giants will be victorious. Second, I will enjoy his pecan pie."
For his part, Barton noted that the Rangers already eliminated the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees to make it to the Fall Classic.
"The Giants are next on the wanted poster," he said. "I thought the Rangers winning the World Series for the first time would be sweet enough. But when Speaker Pelosi put some Ghirardelli's chocolate on the line, I knew victory would be even sweeter!"