February 3, 2023

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'Commissioner' Trout addresses role in Joc-Pham spat

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NEW YORK — With the Angels set to play in Philadelphia for the first time since 2014 this weekend, the club hosted a press conference on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium featuring superstar Mike Trout, who grew up 35 miles south of Philly’s Citizens Bank Park in Millville, N.J.

While Trout talked about how excited he was to play near his hometown in front of family and friends and how much he enjoys running into fans at Wawa convenience stores, the presser quickly changed gears and shifted to the story that has captivated the sports world: Trout’s role as commissioner in the fantasy football league that caused the rift between the Reds’ Tommy Pham and the Giants’ Joc Pederson.

Pham, who slapped Pederson in the face before Friday’s game in Cincinnati and received a three-game suspension for it from MLB, told The Athletic on Tuesday that Trout was the “worst commissioner in fantasy sports.” He criticized Trout for not stepping in, but also admitted it was a job that Trout didn’t want.

Trout initially tried to deflect questions about fantasy football, but ultimately relented and discussed his role as commissioner. He also indicated that he had talked to both Pederson and Pham about the ordeal.

“I ain’t talking about fantasy football,” Trout said with a smile. “It’s just one of those things where everybody is competitive. Everybody loves fantasy football. Who doesn’t? I think it’s you guys [in the media] dragging it on. I talked to Tommy, I talked to Joc and everybody that was a part of it. It was just passion about fantasy football.”

Trout, a three-time AL MVP and nine-time All-Star, was then asked if he planned on returning as commissioner of the league, which reportedly includes a slew of Major Leaguers, including Manny Machado, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer.

“I haven’t made that decision — every commissioner I know always gets booed,” Trout quipped. “But like I said, Tommy and everybody involved in that is very passionate about fantasy football. A lot of people put their hearts into it. I do, too. And I lost in that league.”

Finally, Trout was asked if he thought Pederson broke any rules. Pham’s contention was that Pederson was abusing the injured reserve list to stash players. Pederson also reportedly responded in a group thread with several GIFs that made fun of where Pham’s team at the time, the Padres, were in the standings at the time. Trout, though, wouldn’t say whether Pederson was in the wrong.

“I’m not answering that question,” Trout said. “It’s in the past. You guys just keep dragging it on. But it is a legendary fantasy league, for sure.”

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