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Gold Medal Figure Skater Peggy Fleming Almost Killed the Dodgers Season

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American figure skater Peggy Fleming performs a routine at the Olympics in Grenoble, France, February 11, 1968. She won the gold medal. (Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)
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"It's true," J.P. Howell confessed with his trademark jack o'lantern grin.

I had read on the computer machine that J.P. Howell got his ass whooped by 1968 gold medal winning figure skater Peggy Fleming. Not content in trusting what others write especially since I have the key figure in the story in front of me, I had to confirm whether this was true.

Howell said this took place in November 2009. His wife Heather Hennessey-Howell was an aspiring Olympic track athlete who had known Fleming since the two met when Hennessey-Howell was 16 in Los Gatos.

The three of them decided to train together that offseason, and that first workout session going up and down hills left Howell huffing and puffing.

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"I had to cut it short," Howell said. "The two of them kept going without me."

The story gets more intriguing since during the following spring training he was sidelined with left shoulder weakness which eventually required surgery. So did Peggy Fleming break his shoulder?

"Peggy Fleming broke my shoulder," Howell acknowledged jokingly.

Okay, so Peggy Fleming didn't really break his shoulder nor did she put this Dodger season in jeopardy. But given the season the Dodgers are going through, something as outlandish as this doesn't seem that far out of place.

40-8. We've been judging this team since that arbitrary June 22 date, and history tells us no team has gone through this stretch of success since 1942. And remember that most of the big names of the game were serving in World War II, so even that is a bit midleading.

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Watching the replay of last night's game on Prime Ticket this afternoon reinforced just how unexplainable this stretch has been. When Andre Ethier hit the pinch-hit game tying home run in the ninth inning, when Yasiel Puig legged out a single that barely squeaked out of the infield into a double, when Adrian Gonzalez lined the double into the left field corner to win the game, a bunch of us just shook our heads in silent awe.

Vin Scully and Charley Steiner have talked about the magic brewing at Dodger Stadium, as something greater than what we can explain, as something so powerful even America's Sweetheart Peggy Fleming can't take away.