Washington, Houston cathedrals strike up World Series wager in Twitter showdown

By Egan Millard
Posted Oct 23, 2019

[Episcopal News Service] It turns out the World Series isn’t just a competition between two baseball teams or two cities. This year, it’s also a battle between two Episcopal cathedrals.

As the Washington Nationals make their first World Series appearance against the 2017 champion Houston Astros, the dean of Houston’s Christ Church Cathedral, the seat of the Diocese of Texas, issued a “friendly wager” to his counterpart at Washington National Cathedral in D.C.

“We think you’re gonna lose the World Series,” the Very Rev. Barkley Thompson said in a Twitter video on Oct. 22. “And here’s the bet: Whoever loses has to wear the other team’s gear at a Sunday morning service in church.”

The rivalry started when Washington National Cathedral posted photos of its famous gargoyles and statues wearing Nationals hats, using the hashtag #GodHasFavorites:

“To those of us in Texas, those are fighting words,” Thompson said in response, noting that Christ Church Cathedral is five blocks from Minute Maid Park, where the Astros play. “Good luck, Nationals. We think you’ll need it. Go Astros, and play ball!”

The Very Rev. Randy Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral, eagerly accepted the bet.

“Bring it on, Houston,” Hollerith replied on Twitter on Oct. 23, after the Nationals won the first game of the series.

“Great game last night! We’re off to a good start – at least, that’s how we think here in Washington,” Hollerith said in his own Twitter video.

The National Cathedral has doubled down on its support for its home team, even posting a video of its organists playing “Baby Shark” – the inescapable children’s song that has inexplicably become the unofficial anthem of the Nationals – on the cathedral’s majestic organ:

The cathedral has previously posted videos of its children’s choir singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”:

And the same song being played on its bells:

In Hollerith’s video responding to Thompson’s wager, he opened a box of Astro Doughnuts – a D.C. favorite – to reveal a dozen donuts with baby sharks in the middle.

If God really does have a favorite, perhaps that will become clearer when the teams face off for Game 2 on Oct. 23 in Houston.

– Egan Millard is an assistant editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at emillard@episcopalchurch.org.