NEW YORK – Baseball’s Best Player™ is on the nation’s biggest media market this week as the Los Angeles Angels take on the New York Yankees. And so naturally, Mike Trout hosted a sort of mini press conference on Wednesday for a bunch of reporters. His first request was that the questions focus on the sport he actually plays.
Unfortunately, as Trout himself would later attest, people are really into fantasy football. And if the drama is juicy enough (or silly enough) and the people involved are professional athletes themselves, well, they’re even into someone else’s fantasy football.
A news cycle that could have been about whether Trout’s sustained, low-key excellence could perhaps, finally, push the Angels into October was summarily supplanted by Cincinnati Reds outfielder Tommy Pham yesterday revealing that the commissioner of the now famous fantasy football league populated by MLB players who occasionally slap each other over disputes over roster rules is none other than Mike Trout himself.
If you recall: Pham slapped Giants outfielder Joc Pederson during batting practice last Friday. This resulted in Pham being suspended for three games and kicking off a series of increasingly absurd media scrums in which both sides attested to participating in a 12-team league with a buy-in of $10,000 (the last team paying an additional $10,000) which was torn apart. last season when Pham challenged Pederson’s use of IR. (As well as “four or five” jokes about the Padres’ poor play late in the season.)
With the well of unpredictable twists and laughable accusations running out, Pham told members of the media in Cincinnati that “Trout did a terrible job, man.”
Pham called him “the worst commissioner in fantasy sports, because he allowed a lot of bullshit to go on and he could have solved it all.”
He at least conceded that it was an unenviable position: “No one 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 partly our fault too, because we appointed him commissioner.
OK, so that brings us back to New York, where Trout dutifully talked about stopping the Angels’ recent slip-up and how excited he is to be back east for a few minutes before being asked about his role in Slapgate.
“I’m not talking about fantasy football,” Trout sadly said.
“Everyone is competitive,” he offered by way of explanation. “Everyone loves fantasy football, who doesn’t?”
(For the record, I don’t like fantasy football.)
He said he talked to everyone in the league, that it was the media that was “dragging” him (uh, Tommy Pham begs you to disagree), and once again attempted to chain the conversation by simply saying, “just passionate about fantasy football.”
As for his personal future in what he called “a legendary fantasy football league, of course”, that remains uncertain.
“Am I going to quit? Um, I didn’t make that decision,” Trout said. “But all the commissioners I know are always booed.”
He declined to comment on whether Pederson in fact broke league rules with his interpretation of injured reserve.
In conclusion: how the hell did Tommy Pham literally force Mike Trout to be commissioner reluctantly?