It’s been five days since the “slap ‘heard round the world,” when Tommy Pham, in a moment of blind rage, lunged at Joc Pederson, setting in motion one of the great baseball controversies you will ever see. Pham’s anger stems from a stunt pulled by Pederson in a high-stakes fantasy football league, employing ESPN’s injured reserve feature to stash players on his bench. In response to the allegations, Pederson has been an open book, trying to clear his name by sharing screengrabs from a text chain between Pham and other members of their fantasy league.
The story continues to unfold with another development coming Tuesday night at Fenway Park when Pham, just reinstated from a three-game suspension, called out Angels All-Star Mike Trout, labeling him the “worst commissioner in fantasy sports.”
“Trout did a terrible job,” Pham old C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic. “He allowed a lot of s--- to go on and he could have solved it all.” Pham admits he and other participants including Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado (the latter two were his teammates at the time), bear at least some responsibility for leaving commissioner duties in Trout’s hands.
“Nobody wanted to be commissioner, I didn’t want to be the f---ing commissioner. I’ve got other s--- to do,” said Pham. “He didn’t want to do it; we put it on him. It was kind of our fault too, because we made him commissioner.”
Along with criticizing Trout for being an absentee commissioner, Pham also accused Pederson of telling only “half the story,” leaving out a number of key details in his explanation over the weekend. Pederson showed reporters a relatively harmless GIF he sent Pham last year, alluding to the Padres’ struggles. But according to Pham, Pederson’s taunting went far beyond that one GIF.
“There was more than one, and I got screenshots to prove it,” said Pham. “He sent more than a few texts or jokes aimed at me or the Padres. That was only one. There were four or five.”
Pham also claims the league, which had a $10,000 buy-in with an additional $10,000 last-place punishment, had established IR rules that were different than ESPN’s default settings. “We had rules to the IR. I know the ESPN app rules, we had our own individual rules.”
Could this whole ordeal have been avoided if the league had simply chosen a different host site, perhaps Yahoo or NFL.com? Who knows, but Pham’s beef with Pederson has been riveting theater, with the feuding outfielders peeling back new layers to their animosity on a daily basis.