In the championship round of the
This was the only game in town, and in all of
"That's what everyone says: slow down and enjoy it," Pederson said. "It's pretty surreal."
Pederson very nearly became the first
He lost to the
"It couldn't happen to a better person," Pujols said of Frazier. "To do it with the city on his back, that's a lot of pressure."
Pujols also praised Pederson, for not only performing so well as a rookie but for thriving amid the pressure of facing Frazier.
"The city of L.A. should be proud of him," Pujols said of Pederson. "I'm so proud of him. I just became more of a fan of him."
The evening's warmest moment came after Pederson had eliminated Pujols. As the two men exchanged greetings, Pederson's older brother jumped into Pujols' arms, and Pujols grinned for all of Ohio to see.
Champ Pederson has Down syndrome. So does Pujols' daughter. Pujols met Champ Pederson this spring, and sent him an autographed jersey.
"That just shows what type of man he is," Joc Pederson said. "He's an unbelievable human.
"It's not necessarily about winning. He's got a warm heart. I tip my cap to him."