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Sports and Fitness
Best Heavy Hitter: Dustin Pedroia
Woodland’s Dustin Pedroia made the “Who’s Hot” section of The Sacramento Bee sports pages so many times this year that even his fans lost count—and here’s why: In just two years with the Boston Red Sox, he’s risen to the top as one of the best hitters in baseball. Last year, Pedroia set a major league record for the highest batting average by a rookie second baseman, helping him to win American League Rookie of the Year honors. He also was the second player in baseball history to lead off the World Series with a home run. This year, the 25-year-old 2008 All-Star kept the momentum going with one of the highest batting averages in the league. And all this from a guy who once was dismissed as being too small (5 feet 9 inches) to make the majors.
Best Homegrown Olympians: Stephanie Brown Trafton (gold, track and field, women’s discus); Stephanie Cox (gold, women’s soccer); Gabe Gardner (gold, men’s volleyball); Kara Lawson (gold, women’s basketball); Gina Ostini Miles (silver, equestrian eventing); Casey Weathers (bronze, baseball); Mary Whipple (gold, rowing women’s eight); James Williams (silver, fencing, men’s team sabre)
For those of us who have a hard time just dragging ourselves to the gym every so often, the idea of winning an Olympic medal is just plain incomprehensible. (Heck, even the idea of training for such an event is incomprehensible.) So imagine our immense admiration for the eight local athletes who did the near-impossible, bringing home so many medals from the Beijing Olympics that we wonder how they got through airport screening on the return flight home. To all of them, and all the locals who competed or coached this summer, our hats are off. Way off.