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MLB players Tommy Pham, Joc Pederson get into physical altercation over fantasy football

Matt Johnson
Joc Pederson, Tommy Pham
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball provides strange stories every year regarding unusual player injuries and wild motivations behind benches-clearing brawls. The latest incident between San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson and Cincinnati Reds slugger Tommy Pham might go down as one of the most unusual incidents this season.

It all happened on Friday at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, hours before the Giants vs Reds game.

Related: San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler won’t take part in national anthem

According to C. Trent Rosecrans and Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic, Pham approached Pederson during batting practice and confronted him about something that happened in a fantasy football league. After the Giants’ outfielder recalled what happened a year ago, Pham slapped him in the face.

  • Joc Pederson stats (2022): .262/.336/.598 .934 OPS, 11 home runs, 25 RBI

Teammates for both clubs immediately rushed to the scene, but both players were separated before tensions erupted into an even bigger scene. San Francisco requested that Pham be moved from the Reds’ lineup, which Cincinnati begrudgingly agreed to following a rain delay.

MLB is launching an investigation into the matter and a suspension for Pham is possible. Following the game, managers Gabe Kapler and David Bell refused to comment on the matter.

  • Tommy Pham stats (2022): .233/.335/.373, .709 OPS, 17 RBI

Pederson shared insight from his side of the matter.

Joc Pederson explains Tommy Pham incident

MLB: New York Mets at San Francisco Giants
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking to reporters after Friday’s game, Pederson explained that Pham’s anger and actions all date back to something that happened in a fantasy football league.

“We were in a fantasy league together. I put somebody, a player, on the injured reserve when they were listed as out and added another player. There was a text message in the group saying that I was cheating because I was stashing players on my bench. I looked up the rules and sent a screenshot of the rules, how it says when a player is ruled out, you’re allowed to put him on the IR. That’s all I was doing”

San Francisco Giants’ OF Joc Pederson on his fantasy football feud with Tommy Pham

Pham apparently took strong issue with Pederson stashing an inactive player on injured reserve and using the roster spot to add another player. It could suggest the two were facing one another that week in fantasy, with Pederson’s roster management meaning he got a player off the waiver wire before Pham.

Pederson then shared with reporters he used Pham’s argument against him, pointing to an instance on Pham’s roster of an inactive player being on injured reserve with another player taking the active roster spot.

“He kind of came up and said like ‘you remember from last year?’ And I was like ‘fantasy football?’ He was like ‘yeah.’”

Joc Pederson on intercation right before Tommy Pham slapped him

Due to MLB’s investigation, Pham agreed to sit out Friday’s game and his availability on Saturday is uncertain. Pederson did make it clear that he will not be playing fantasy football with Pham again.