MONTGOMERY, Ala. – It's not quite mudslinging but almost.
Gov. Bob Riley on Friday sent a bottle of dirt to Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as part of a friendly wager between the two over a Little League regional championship game featuring teams from both states.
Perdue had offered a gallon of "North Georgia's finest, 100 percent locally mountain-grown headwaters" to Riley if the Alabama team won.
But Westside Little League of Mobile lost to Georgia's Warner Robins American Little League team in the Southeast Regional Championship game Thursday night.
Perdue, who played catcher for the Warner Robins team nearly 50 years ago, had started the wager Wednesday with a statement: "I am pulling for our home team just as strongly as I am pulling for our right to protect Georgia's water resources," surely a reference to the ongoing court fights the two states have had over water from north Georgia.
Riley said in a letter to Perdue on Friday that he wasn't aware of the bet before the game.
"But since your team won, I am presenting you something in the spirit in which you offered the gallon of water," Riley wrote. "So, I am happy to send you a box of dry, parched Alabama soil. Due to the lack of water in Alabama, this soil can no longer be used for farming, so the farmer I got it from no longer needs it."
Actually, Riley sent a bottle of dirt, not a box.
Riley congratulated the Warner Robins team but didn't miss the chance to take another dig at Perdue, who protested Riley's call for the Army Corps of Engineers to release more water from Lake Allatoona that Riley says rightfully belongs to Alabama.
"I appreciate your offer to send a gallon of water from Georgia," Riley continued. "After all, you've got plenty in Lake Allatoona, but I believe 18 billion gallons is actually what we're due."