In September 2014, at the ripe old age of 22, Palo Alto native Joc Pederson stepped onto the grass at Dodger Stadium and made his Major League debut. Ten months later, he earned an All-Star selection, becoming the first Dodger rookie position player to be awarded a start in the Mid-Summer Classic. He also participated in the 2015 Home Run Derby, finishing second.
Last season, Pederson—whose father, Stu, and brother, Tyger, were also drafted by the Dodgers—tied for 10th among National League outfielders with 25 home runs, and averaged 412.1 feet per blast. The outfielder teamed up with New Era and his brother Champ, who has Down syndrome, to design a hat with their family’s motto, “Live Like a Champ,” to raise money for Best Buddies International. When not hitting balls out of the park, Pederson does what most Angelenos do on their off days: hang out at the beach, go to Disneyland Resort, and enjoy the city’s diverse cuisine.
Where do you live? I’m originally from Palo Alto, where my parents still live, but since joining the Dodgers, I’ve spent most of my time in Los Angeles.
Why there? The obvious answer is because it’s closer to the stadium, but also because it’s closer to the beach, where I like spending my free time. Southern California is a great place to be and you really can’t beat the weather down here.
Who or what is your greatest California love? The weather. Year-round, it can’t be beat. We have sunshine in the winter, while the rest of the country freezes, and humidity-free beach days in the summer. It’s the best.
What is the stereotype that most holds true? Obviously, the one thing people think of first is the traffic in L.A., and I can agree that it’s pretty bad during rush hour. But another thing is how great Dodger Stadium is. It’s the best place to play and the fans are awesome. Going off that, I believe we have the best and most desirable sports teams to root for, from the Dodgers to the Kings to the Warriors, who I grew up watching. Another stereotype is how great the food is around here. There are so many different types of foods in SoCal and I like all the options.
What is your favorite Golden State splurge? Tough question. Either great seats for a basketball or football game, or spending a day with my family at Disneyland.
Time for a road trip. Where are you going? I’ve never been there, but have always wanted to road trip up to Big Sur. The sights look amazing.
If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? I don’t know about an official state culinary experience, but I’d highly recommend the tri-tip at the Firestone Grill in San Luis Obispo...it’s out of this world.
Best California song? Has to be “California Love” by Tupac. It’s the song that plays when Dodger closer Kenley Jansen warms up, so it means we’re about to win another game.
How would your California dream day unfold? I’d have to say a fun-filled day at the beach with my family, followed by a fresh sushi dinner.