BOSTON — As Tommy Pham headed for the dugout at the end of batting practice on Tuesday, the Reds outfielder signed autographs for some fans on the left field line at Fenway Park. When he had finished, he continued towards the canoe. There, a fan shouted “Joc deserved it!”
Pham stopped by and signed an autograph for the fan.
Days after Pham slapped Giants outfielder Joc Pederson over a fantasy football argument, the incident – in which the nine-year veteran received a three-game suspension and an undisclosed fine – is still relevant, even now attracting the best player in baseball. in controversy.
At this point, Pederson and Pham have both shared their sides of the story and haven’t really contradicted each other on basic facts; it’s the league’s interpretation of rules and the extent of Pederson’s perceived disrespect for Pham that seem to be in the running. Still, Pham felt that his part of the dispute had not been fully aired.
“Joc told half the story, I don’t like that,” Pham said shortly before the Reds’ game on Tuesday at Fenway Park.
But Pham added that no matter how the situation unfolded, the fantasy league commissioner could have stopped it all, right from the start, blaming some of the blame on the most appointed commissioner in all of fantasy sports. or others: Mike Trout. .
“Trout did a terrible job, man,” Pham said, with a hint of a smile. “Trout is the worst commissioner in fantasy sports. Because he let a lot of bullshit slip by and he could have solved it all.
However, Pham seemed somewhat sympathetic to Trout, at least acknowledging that he didn’t want the job in the first place.
“Nobody wanted to be commissioner, I didn’t want to be the fucking commissioner. I have other things to do. He didn’t want to do it; we put it on him. It was a bit of our fault too, because we made him commissioner,” Pham said.
Trout declined to comment on being league commissioner for Athleticism Tuesday afternoon, before Pham’s statements on his role.
Part of the reason the incident resonated over the weekend despite the often short attention span of public discourse was the incredibly thorough arguments put forward by Pederson to defend his list moves and use of the list. league injuries. According to Pederson, Pham accused Pederson of cheating because he was “hiding players on my bench”. Pederson said he consulted the rules used by the league and thought he was right, and that Pham was doing the same with a player on his own team, 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. Disagreements ensued. are followed on a group text for the league. , which sources say features MLB players from multiple teams including Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, and had an initial buy-in of $10,000.
Joc shares details of what happened in his fantasy football league which started his altercation with Tommy Pham today pic.twitter.com/d9NBTwPVoG
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) May 28, 2022
Pham also said Pederson said “disrespectful shit” about his former team, the Padres, in a text message. After the final game of the Giants-Reds series, Pederson showed reporters a GIF he sent to the league’s text channel mocking Pham’s former team, the Padres.
Pham said Tuesday that in fact, Pederson sent “a few. There was more than one, and I have screenshots to prove it. He sent more than a few texts or jokes aimed at me or the Padres. It was only one. There were four or five. Pham said several members of the fantasy league have reached out to support him: “They know what’s going on,” he said.
He also stood by his interpretation of the league’s IR rules.
“We had rules for the IR, you know?” Pham said. “I know the ESPN app rules, we had our own individual rules.”
In addition to the jokes that Pham didn’t appreciate, he also noted that the money involved was a major issue. Not only was there the initial buy-in of $10,000, but the last in the 12-team league was forced to pay an additional $10,000. Pham dropped out of the league midway through the season, noting he was in second place when he left the league.
“I looked at him like he was scamming my money with the lack of respect,” Pham said on Saturday morning after his three-game suspension was announced.
A former teammate says Las Vegas native Pham is serious about his fantasy football. He also didn’t appreciate the way Pederson acted in the league.
“Tommy talked about it so much I thought Joc was a teammate,” joked the player, who said he liked having Pham as a teammate.
At some point last year, Pham wrote in the text channel that the next time he saw Pederson, he would give him a “pimp slap.”
Pham kept his word. In left field at Great American Ball Park during Friday’s Reds batting practice, he approached a barefooted Pederson.
“I said, ‘I haven’t forgotten that shit,'” Pham said. “And I walked up to him and slapped him.”
Players immediately ran out of dugouts and relievers. A Giants pitcher had to be restrained. Pham, who challenged the Padres’ Luke Voit earlier this season after Voit concussed the Reds’ receiver, was ready to take on anyone who wanted a fight.
Major League Baseball contacted the Reds almost immediately, sources say. The Giants were also quickly in touch with the league office.
San Francisco asked the Reds to remove Pham from the roster. The Reds initially disagreed, infuriating Giants officials and those in the Major League Baseball office, according to multiple sources.
If Pham were to sit out on Friday, the Reds wanted that game to count towards his possible suspension. Major League Baseball didn’t initially offer that, ordering the Reds to remove Pham from the roster without any guarantees.
The game was originally scheduled to start at 6:40 p.m., but was delayed by more than two hours due to rain. About half an hour before the start of the game, following a call from the Major League Baseball Players’ Association in Pham, the Reds outfielder agreed not to play that night. He was eventually suspended for three games, with Friday’s game included in the total.
The Giants were unaware that Pham had retired until about 10 minutes before the start of the game. Each manager first sent a coach to exchange roster cards, but plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt asked both managers to come and exchange cards. Curiously, it was during this trade that Reds manager David Bell noticed that the Giants had not placed left-handed reliever Jake McGee on the card, rendering him ineligible to play in the game; McGee had been taken off the injured list before the game. When the Giants called McGee to start the eighth, Bell pointed to McGee’s absence from the traded roster card before the game, forcing the Giants to call José Álvarez instead with the Reds leading 3–1. Álvarez allowed two runs and the Reds won 5-1.
The next day, Pham’s suspension was announced, and Pham spoke to the media about what had happened.
“Yesterday I slapped Joc,” Pham said in his usual tone. “He did some bullshit that I don’t condone. So I had to stick to it. »
Pham spoke for several minutes that morning, explaining his issues with Pederson, talking about the fantasy football league, and expressing his gratitude for the team’s support.
After holding court, Pham went to batting practice. As he walked out of the clubhouse towards the batting cage, he walked past Moustakas’ locker and said, “go sweep those motherfuckers!”
The Reds won that day but lost a late lead the next day, narrowly missing the sweep without Pham, who has struck third in every game he has started this season.
Pham was initially back in the lineup on Tuesday for the Reds’ 2-1 win over the Red Sox, but felt a tightness in his left calf on early batting practices. He was finally scratched. Pham said it was more of a proactive move to avoid any more missed time.
Other than that, he said, he felt fine.
“My body is fine. I’m fine,” he said before lifting the part of the body that had received so much attention. “The hand is good.”
(Pham top photo: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY)