Long Beach +24 UK (win)
Missouri +1 Illinois (win)
San Jose St. v. Santa Clara under 140 (loss)
This was a difficult year, no one demanded to be chosen - I began the year tracking LeBron, as he was a (1) historic player (2) having a historic season, one better by the advanced metric than you're aware - but not making the finals gave an opening to the rest of the field; I had similar thoughts about Pujols, and he wound up maybe a little bit below James when trying to consider their seasons. Federer (who finished second in the AP, behind Jimmie Johnson, who didn't win an Athlete of the Month from me, but his candidacy is similar to Federer's) had less of a spectacular year and more a good year that culminated a significant achievement.
And at the end - it left Pacquaio - only the second boxer I've ever chosen (Foreman in '94, one of my weaker decisions). Like all of the men in the previous paragraph, Pacquiao is historically significant in his sport and had a very good year (maybe Pacquaio's best, certainly the one where he received the most acclaim - this is the first year he's been considered almost by acclamation the best fighter in the world) and he's never won my award before (and Federer has).
It was close, but I feel good about it. Pacquaio becomes my 20th Athlete of the Year. I've listed all of my choices since beginning this continuous process in 1990, but haven't broken them down by month. I'm considering posting all of that as well, as I have all of the records since January of '90, each monthly winner plus all of the runners up for each month. I was 19 when this began, in a world with a very limited access to information; I don't want to say some of this choices were terrible, but I was looking at shadows in a cave for several years.
We'll see how that goes; maybe that happens next week.