Before Friday night’s game in Cincinnati, reports surfaced that there was an altercation on the field between Giants outfielder Joc Pederson and Reds outfielder Tommy Pham. Pederson himself later confirmed the reports.
Well, beefs between teams and/or individual players are not uncommon in baseball. We know that. However, the Pham-Pederson scuffle appears to be new. Apparently Pham Pederson hit and the problem stems from a fantasy football league.
Yes, both the Reds and Giants are hitting The Athletic writers report that the issue between Pham and Pederson arose in a fantasy football league that includes multiple players from many different MLB teams. It seems Pham was angry enough to punch Pederson.
In fact, Pederson himself explained the incident, and consistent with previous reports, he claims that not only did Pham hit him, but he did so over a fantasy football argument. Here’s a look at Pederson’s remarks:
The Reds dropped Pham from the lineup Friday and MLB is investigating the matter, leaving a suspension a possibility.
In less serious matters, we must examine the Fantasy Football component here. This season, there was the extra week in the schedule, allowing most leagues to add a game to their regular season, and that pushed the playoffs a little deeper into the calendar than usual. Still, no one should be playing meaningful fantasy football in the final week of the NFL regular season. Everyone knows that. That means the Fantasy Super Bowls should have been played in week 17, which was Sunday January 2nd and Monday January 3rd.
Even if Pederson did something to infuriate Pham during the Super Bowl, we’re talking about holding on to those negative feelings — to the point of physical confrontation — for nearly 20 weeks. Twenty!
Well, as Pederson explained above, from his point of view, the dispute arose from waiver wire/IR activity – nefarious waiver wire activity in Pham’s view, but standard behavior in accordance with the rules according to Pederson. (That’s why you should only play with your most trusted friends.) Of course, there are two sides to every story, and at this point we only have one of them. Maybe there’s a chance it’s actually about money as Pham might have won money via the league or side bets and Pederson never paid? In this case, the anger—but obviously not the slap—is entirely reasonable.
Or was it just trash talk? If so, Pham needs to loosen up.
Regardless, this seems like a story worth pursuing. There’s the serious front where it’s possible Pham could be disciplined by the league. That is certainly important. However, given that the Reds have the worst record in baseball by a pretty decent margin, I need a full fact-finding on fantasy football crime.