NEW YORK – Baseball’s Best Player™ is in the country’s biggest media market this week as the Los Angeles Angels take on the New York Yankees. And so naturally, Mike Trout conducted something of a mini news conference on Wednesday for a gaggle of reporters. His first request was that questions focus on the sport he actually plays.
Unfortunately, as Trout himself would later attest to, people are really passionate about fantasy football. And if the drama is juicy enough (or dumb enough) and the people involved are themselves professional athletes, well then they’re even passionate about someone else’s fantasy football.
A news cycle that could have been about whether Trout’s understated sustained excellence could maybe, finally, push the Angels into October was summarily supplanted by Cincinnati Reds outfielder Tommy Pham revealing yesterday that the commissioner of the now-famous fantasy football league populated by MLB players who sometimes slap each other over roster rule disputes is none other than Mike Trout himself.
If you remember: Pham slapped Giants' outfielder Joc Pederson during batting practice last Friday. This resulted in Pham getting suspended for three games and started a series of increasingly absurd media scrums in which both parties attested to participating in a $10,000 buy-in 12-team league (with the last place team paying an extra $10,000) that was torn asunder last season when Pham took issue with Pederson’s use of the IR. (As well as “four or five” jokes about the Padres poor play toward the end of the season.)
With the well of unpredictable twists and laughable accusations running dry, Pham told media members in Cincinnati that “Trout did a terrible job, man.”
Pham called him “the worst commissioner in fantasy sports, because he allowed a lot of s*** to go on and he could’ve solved it all.”
He did, at least, concede that it was an unenviable position: “Nobody wanted to be commissioner, I didn’t want to be the f****** commissioner. I’ve got other s*** to do. He didn’t want to do it; we put it on him. It was kind of our fault too, because we made him commissioner.”
OK, so, that brings us back to New York, where Trout dutifully talked about stopping the Angels’ recent skid and how excited he is to be back east for a few minutes before being asked about his role in Slapgate.
“I ain’t talking about fantasy football,” Trout said, unfortunately.
“Everybody’s competitive,” he offered by way of explanation. “Everybody loves fantasy football, who doesn’t?”
(I, for the record, do not love fantasy football.)
He said that he talked to everyone in the league, that it was the media “dragging it on” (uh, Tommy Pham begs to differ), and once again attempted to corral the conversation by saying simply, “just passionate about fantasy football.”
As for his own personal future in what he called “a legendary fantasy football league, for sure,” it remains unclear.
“Am I gonna resign? Uh, I haven’t made that decision,” Trout said. “But every commissioner I know always gets booed.”
He declined to comment on whether Pederson did, in fact, break the league's rules with his interpretation of the injured reserve.
In conclusion: How the hell did Tommy Pham force literally Mike Trout to be commissioner begrudgingly?