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Celebrity Slam - Can't take a Joc?

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There are many different types of celebrity. You’ve got your movie stars, your pop stars, your reality stars – it’s a real famous person buffet. But sometimes, we forget to include sports stars in that equation. For whatever reason, when we think “celebrity,” we neglect athletes, even though a pro player is just as much an entertainer and performer as anyone else who we see on our screens.

Still, every once in a while, we get a sports-related story that is outlandish enough to merit inclusion in this space. The dudes involved are baseball players – good ones, but not superstars – so you know that if we’re talking about them, things got weird.

And reader – weird is what we got.

The incident we’re discussing happened last week before a game between the San Francisco Giants and the Cincinnati Reds. As the Giants players were in the outfield warming up, Reds outfielder Tommy Pham went up to Giants outfielder Joc Pederson and slapped him. Just straight-up smacked him across the face. Strange, right?

Not as strange as the reason behind it.

As it turns out, the whole conflict stemmed from some issues regarding a fantasy football league that both players were in. Baseball players – they’re morons just like us!

We’re not going to get into the weeds regarding the particulars: basically, it boiled down to Pederson putting a guy on injured reserve and starting someone else and Pham thought that it was a breaking of the rules (though Pederson claimed that Pham did the very same thing earlier in the season, so who knows?) and decided to dish out some frontier justice.

Pederson also stated that he had posted a GIF to the group chat that was making fun of the at-the-time struggling San Diego Padres team that Pham was part of at the time; apparently, Pham reacted badly and said that Pederson didn’t know him well enough for that joke.

Pham would subsequently come out and talk about how no one should mess with his money – this fantasy football league is apparently VERY high stakes – and brag on his high-roller status in Vegas or something.

Major League Baseball would issue a three-day suspension to Pham for his actions, a suspension that Pham accepted without appeal. He sat through the weekend.

First, a note: We’ve gone through this a number of times here at Celebrity Slam, but let’s just repeat it: settling disputes with your hands instead of your words isn’t the answer. Even on the rare occasion where getting physical could conceivably be justified, talking things out is inevitably going to be the superior choice.

Now that we’ve gotten that caveat out of the way, we can embrace how utterly ridiculous this whole situation is.

Grown men getting big mad about fantasy football is objectively hilarious. Sure, we understand that there’s money involved – even significant money – but we’re having real trouble imagining that this is in any way financially ruinous for anyone involved. To us, it might sound like a lot of money, but both Pham and Pederson have made just shy of $30 million during their respective MLB tenures – if losing their fantasy football league puts any kind of real dent in their finances, then we’ve got some larger issues at play.

(Note: After this story was filed, we got even more wild info. It turns out that Mike Trout - arguably the best player in baseball - is the commissioner of this fantasy football league, and if Pham's take is to be believed, Trout is much, MUCH better at baseball than he is at running a fantasy league.)

And for Pham’s rage to be stoked by a stupid GIF, leading to him talking about what a big money Vegas guy he is, well … it’s all rather silly, isn’t it? And for it to result in him just walking up to another dude and slapping him across the face? It’s how a child handles his business, not a grown-ass man.

For his part, Pederson seems generally bemused about the whole situation. He doesn’t even seem mad, just vaguely baffled by it all. To his credit, that is precisely the right take on all of it.

We’re not here to tell people how to spend their leisure time or disposable income. Hell, we’re fantasy football fans ourselves – it can be a lot of fun. But that’s the key word – fun, and it doesn’t sound like Tommy Pham is having very much fun.

Seriously, Pham – can’t you take a Joc?

Last modified on Wednesday, 01 June 2022 06:01


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