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The second city

No. 2 was the place to be for USC football, UCLA basketball and several other L.A. teams that fell short of a championship

December 31, 2006|Mike Penner | Times Staff Writer

Bonds passed Babe Ruth on the home run list May 28 amid a head-shaking mixture of apathy and antipathy. He finished the season with 26 home runs, moving him to within 21 of Aaron.

Barring injury or Bonds suddenly doing the right thing and retiring out of respect for Aaron and sport's most hallowed record, Bonds probably will become baseball's all-time home run leader in 2007 -- as a nation turns its lonely eyes away, hoping for a pulled hamstring.

So many discouraging words, but one was worth celebrating this year.


That would be Tiger Woods, who won the PGA Championship and the British Open to bring his career Grand Slam victory total to 12, the second most all-time.

That would also be the Detroit Tigers, who went from 119 losses in 2003 to 95 victories and the AL pennant in 2006.

The year's biggest horse racing story involved a horse that failed to finish the Preakness. Kentucky Derby champion Barbaro broke his right hind leg shortly after exiting the gate, his subsequent life-saving surgery and rehabilitation turning him into America's horse.

Jimmie Johnson won his first Nextel Cup title by opening NASCAR's season with a Daytona 500 victory and closing it with, yes, four second-place finishes in his last six races.

But nowhere in 2006 did No. 2 mean more than the NFL.

The wild-card Steelers began the calendar year by defeating Seattle in the Super Bowl.

The 2006 regular season was highlighted by the performances of quarterbacks who started September at No. 2 on their team's depth charts: Tennessee's Young, Arizona's Leinart, Dallas' Tony Romo, Philadelphia's Jeff Garcia, Denver's Jay Cutler.

After 15 games, the league had two two-loss teams -- the San Diego Chargers, who rode LaDainian Tomlinson's record 31 touchdowns to the AFC's top playoff seeding, and the Chicago Bears, also 13-2 but not quite sure whom their playoff quarterback ought to be.

In November, two of the nation's most popular athletes, soccer star Mia Hamm and Dodger comeback player of the year Nomar Garciaparra, announced they were soon to become parents.

The number of children they are expecting in 2007?

That's right. Two.

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