Julia Bohan
By Brad Tuttle
Updated: October 29, 2015 12:58 PM ET | Originally published: October 28, 2015
Julia Bohan

Even the libraries are talking trash. Whenever the World Series or Super Bowl take place, it’s become standard protocol for the leaders of the two cities involved in the matchup to brag a bit about their local team’s chances—and back up the claims with friendly wagers. This year, however, it’s not only governors and mayors throwing down the gauntlets in support of their teams. Celebrity fans, district attorneys, local museums, and even YMCAs are getting in on the action too.

And yes, the public libraries are engaging in smack talk. Perhaps surprisingly, it wasn’t New York taking the lead in that department. Instead, the Kansas City Public Library kicked off the battle of words on social media, with a tweet sent out yesterday with the message, “Well look what we found on the shelf …,” along with a faded photo of the cover of The Worst Team Money Could Buy: The Collapse of the New York Mets. After the Royals won Game 1 on Tuesday night, the New York Public Library Twitter account responded with a pic featuring titles like Payback on book spines. (Somebody is groaning right now about their tax money going to pay employees who handle library social media accounts and spend their time doing this stuff.)

[UPDATE: Originally, we reported that the libraries weren’t betting anything on the World Series outcome. But as it turns out, that’s not true. A representative from the New York Public Library reached out and revealed that a friendly wager was indeed agreed upon, before the Series started. If the Royals win, New York will give the KC system copies of the five best books ever written about New York City and New York bagels, and the famous lion mascot outside the Fifth Avenue library in Manhattan will be decorated in Royals gear for one hour. If the Mets win, the New York libraries will receive a donation to its early literacy programs, plus books, coffee, and a feast of Kansas City barbecue.]

Here are some of the other high-profile individuals and organizations in Kansas City and New York City that are placing quirky wagers with their counterparts to support their teams.

Jimmy Kimmel vs. Eric Stonestreet

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The talk show host and the “Modern Family” actor are huge supporters of the Mets and Royals, respectively, and decided to put their fan creds where their mouths are, in the form of a bet in which the winner gets to see the loser tortured. Originally, Kimmel said, he wanted the loser to get a vasectomy, but his wife nixed that idea. They then spun the “Wheel of Terrible Bets” on Kimmel’s show, with the options including the loser being handcuffed to a superhero on Hollywood Boulevard, getting an earring, or handing over the reins to his Twitter account for an hour. The bet they wound up going with is truly terrible, requiring the loser to hop around in a bounce house for a minute while the winner shoots him with paintballs.


Andrew Cuomo vs. Jay Nixon

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The governors of New York and Missouri have agreed to wager a package of goods from their respective home states. For instance, if the Royals win, Cuomo has to cough up a spread of bagels, beers, ciders, wines, wing sauce, and Italian sausage produced in New York. If the Mets are champs, Nixon must deliver a jersey from the K.C.’s Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, plus Missouri-made coffee and barbecue ribs to Cuomo.

Brooklyn Brewery vs. Boulevard Brewing

“The pride and pints of both cities are on the line,” the Brooklyn Brewery blog stated in a post detailing the terms of a bet it placed against its counterpoint brewer in Kansas City. The wager stipulates that the losing city’s brewer will pour the winning city’s beer from the taps for a full week, and the loser’s owner must wear the winning team’s baseball cap and toast the champs with a pint full of the brew.

Louis Armstrong House Museum vs. American Jazz Museum

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The losing city’s jazz museum will send the winner a basket of treasures from their institution, including books, CDs, and photo prints from the archives.

Bill de Blasio vs. Sly James

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OK, so Kansas City wins hands down in terms of having the mayor with the cooler name. (Sly James? Come on! Can’t beat that. Sounds like a jazz impresario, or a baseball player—perhaps a super-smooth shortstop or bad-ass relief pitcher.) But we’ll have to wait and see which mayor’s team wins the World Series, and which losing mayor will have to sing the winner’s song of choice (“New York, New York,” or “Kansas City”). New York cheesecake and Kansas City barbecue are also on the line.

Local YMCAs & District Attorneys

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The leaders of the YMCAs in Kansas City and New York City have agreed to a fairly standard bet, requiring the loser to wearing the winning team’s jersey to work. Similarly, the district attorneys in Queens and Kansas City have placed a pretty traditional bet, in which the winner gets a feast featuring the specialties from the loser’s hometown—subs from an Italian deli in Queens or, of course, Kansas City barbecue.


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