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Pick your team: California or California

OK, you East Coasters, you self-appointed potentates of the nation's commerce and culture. What do you think of us Californians now? You remember us. We're the fools who live on fault lines, the ones who eschew meat on the menu, the ones who prefer surf to making sales calls. We're the ones who wear earrings no matter what the gender.

Hey, look at us now. It's our time. Maybe our century. We command the sixth most powerful economy of any nation - nation! - on earth. Our stadium-full of electoral votes will probably decide the presidential election.

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And, now, we're going to have the world's baseball champions.

How does that sound - ``all-California?'' Pride is ricocheting between Oakland and Los Angeles quicker than Donald Trump can say ``Eastern shuttle.'' Of course, Oakland, with its abundance of homer hitters and hopes of an urban renaissance, would like to have the title.

But Jules Schwartzman has a few feelings about that. He works at the Burbank Studios and is scanning the morning headlines at a newsstand here, where the Dodgers victory over the New York Mets has been announced in type the size of some Hollywood egos. ``I think the Dodgers will do it,'' he says.

Tom Johnson, a computer programmer, is less circumspect. ``Guts and determination have carried the Dodgers this far,'' he says. ``I think it is going to carry them through Oakland.''

But, c'mon, fellas. Let's not make this a North-South battle. Sure, we have siphoned off some of northern California's economic and political clout. Sure, we take their water. But this is baseball. Let's just keep it an East-West affair, at least until the series gets started.

``It is nice having two teams playing from California,'' says Jack Kyser, chief economist at the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, who keeps a Dodger helmet on his computer. ``But I don't know how the rest of the country is going to handle it.''

Wade Mayer has the right idea, too. ``There is more than a certain delight in beating New York,'' says the actor-carpenter. ``I love it when the West Coast beats the East Coast.''

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Subway series? Remember the Yankees and old Brooklyn Dodgers traveling across town to play the World Series?

We don't have subways in L.A. We have cars. Big cars. Fancy cars. Cars with hot tubs. Cars with tubs of hot cargo. We'll call ours the ``I-5 series.''

C'mon down, Oakland. The Dodgers and their doughboy manager, Tommy Lasorda, will be there for Game 1 Saturday. Maybe Jack Nicholson, too.

And New York, Boston? Here's pine tar in your eye.

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