"Yes, That Did Happen." A Giants player gets in trouble for playing fantasy football.
Tommy Pham, who plays outfield for the Reds, hit Giants player Joc Pederson in the face. Major League Baseball banned Pham for three games.
When fights happen in professional sports, sometimes the facts don't come out for years. There will be rumors, bits of information will come from anonymous sources, and it will be years before the people involved can finally talk about what happened.
Fans only had to wait for Joc Pederson to get to the clubhouse after the San Francisco Giants lost 5-1 to the Cincinnati Reds on Friday for the slap heard around baseball to happen.
Giants outfielder Pederson confirmed what The Athletic had said and what social media was talking about: Before the game, Reds outfielder Tommy Pham hit him because of a fantasy football deal Pederson says he made more than a year ago. Not at all.
When asked directly about the slap, Pederson said, "Yeah, that did happen."
In response to the incident, Major League Baseball suspended Pham for three games, starting from Friday. Pham told Cincinnati reporters, like C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic, that he will accept the suspension. Pham said that Pederson was cheating and had also said "disrespectful" things about Pham's old team, the San Diego Padres.
On Saturday, Pederson told reporters about the group chat and showed them a meme that was making fun of the Padres for not doing well.
"I did send a GIF making fun of the Padres, that's true," Pederson said. "I'm sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings," she said.
The Giants had a strange run of bad luck before the slap. Gabe Kapler, the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, wrote a blog post about gun violence earlier in the day. He then said he would not be on the field for the national anthem until further notice.
The slap happened in left field right before the game, and the teams couldn't agree on whether Pham should be allowed to play or not. And when Kapler called on reliever Jake McGee in the eighth inning, he was told that McGee had been mistakenly left off that day's lineup card, making him ineligible to play.
In sports, fights like the one between Pham and Pederson are not unusual. Charles Oakley was a tough NBA player who played for several teams. Over the years, he has admitted to hitting a lot of players, including Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen (Pippen was on Oakley's team at the time), and he once attacked Tyrone Hill during shootaround over a gambling debt.
But Friday's incident was different because Pederson was willing to talk about it in more detail afterward.
When asked what happened, Pederson said that he and Pham play in a fantasy football league together. Pederson said more than a year ago that there was a disagreement about a trade he made in which he put a player on injured reserve who was already out. He said that a text message sent to the league's group chat said that he was cheating by "stowing" players on his bench. He didn't come out and say that Pham was the one who sent the message.
"I looked up the rules and sent a screenshot of the rule that says you can put a player on injured reserve if they are ruled out," Pederson said. "That's all I was doing."
Pederson said he didn't understand why Pham was upset about the move. He said that Pham had done something similar with his own team, and he even said who the player was on Pham's team.
"He just happened to have a player out, Jeff Wilson, and had him on injured reserve," Pederson said. "I told her, 'You have the exact same thing on your bench.'"
Pederson said that there wasn't much that led up to what happened on Friday. Pham went up to him and asked if he remembered the problem. Pederson said he did, so Pham hit him on the cheek.
Pederson said that he didn't want to fight back.
He said, "I wasn't upset, and I don't think violence is the answer." "So I kind of got out of there."
In addition to the suspension, Pham was given a fine that was not made public. He will be able to play in Cincinnati's two-game series against the Boston Red Sox, which starts on Tuesday.