Mike Trout is generally regarded as the best player in baseball.
Recently, he was able to add “worst commissioner in fantasy sports” to his resume.
In case you’ve been living under more than one rock, you’ve probably heard about the incredibly absurd story of Reds outfielder Tommy Pham slapping Giants outfielder Joc Pederson before a game last week because of a beef about fantasy football.
Pham was suspended for three games by MLB. Upon his return, he dragged Trout into the affair by revealing that the Angels superstar was the commissioner of the league, and added his view that Trout “allowed a lot of (stuff) to go on and could’ve solved it all.”
It’s worth noting that Pham was laughing when he called out Trout. It’s also worth noting that Trout was laughing, too, as he addressed the topic before Wednesday night’s game at Yankee Stadium.
“I ain’t talking about fantasy football,” he said, before talking about – what else? – fantasy football. “It’s just one of them things. Everybody’s competitive. Everybody loves fantasy football. Who doesn’t?”
Yeah, who doesn’t love fantasy football? And who doesn’t love listening to someone talk about their fantasy football roster, and the moves they want to/hope to make, and who they are going to start and who they are going to sit, and how they came up just short last week because they didn’t start the guy who ended up with three touchdowns and how they’re not going to make that mistake again and are going to crush it this week?
Especially if you’re not a fantasy football aficionado yourself, which doesn’t really matter because even as you sit there with your eyes glazing over, wishing you could be anywhere else on the planet, the person who loves fantasy football will continue to talk in great detail about fantasy football until you get up and walk away, in which case the person might stop talking about fantasy football, or might not.
What exactly happened between Pham and Pederson? Pederson said Pham accused him of cheating by placing a player on injured reserve and replacing him with a free agent. Pederson said the player he put on IR had been ruled out for that week, which made it a legal move.
There was also some taunting in a group chat.
Worth a slap months later? You be the judge. MLB obviously felt it wasn’t, but what does the commissioner’s office know about the passion of fantasy football players who happen to also be millionaire athletes?
Trout, as a commissioner himself, gets it.
“I talked to Tommy,” he said. “I talked to Joc and everybody that was part of it. We’re just passionate about fantasy football.”
Trout also called the league, which has a reported $10,000 per player buy-in, “a legendary fantasy football league, for sure,” and said he wasn’t planning to resign as commissioner.
“I haven’t made that decision,” he said. “Every commissioner I know always gets booed.”
Trout had agreed to Wednesday’s media session before he was called out by Pham, so it was nice that he kept the appointment even though he knew fantasy football questions would be on the menu.
The main topic was supposed to be the Philadelphia-area native’s upcoming trip home to play the Phillies this weekend for the first time since 2014.
This week’s series in the Bronx is the first time Trout has played at Yankee Stadium in four years because of injuries and COVID rescheduling. He went 0-for-4 on Tuesday in the Yankees’ 9-1 victory and also slipped in centerfield going for a first-inning double hit by Gleyber Torres.
Trout played in just 36 games last season because of a right calf strain he suffered in May. The last thing MLB wants to see is its best player get hurt again, especially with the Angels a potential playoff contender.
“I skidded like three or four feet,” Trout said. “Both feet. Just happy I didn’t get hurt. Those things are scary when you have an unexpected slip.”
Or an unexpected slap.