Cincinnati Reds pitchers Luis Castillo (left) and Tyler Mahle (right) Mahle sports a Pham! T shirt relating to Reds outfielder Tommy Pham who slapped San Francisco Giant outfielder Joc Pederson over a Fantasy Football game where Pham said Pederson was stashing injured players and was being disrespectful about it. Mahle wore the shirt before the Fri Jun 24, 2022 game at Oracle Park in San Francisco (photo by the Cincinnati Enquirer)
By Jeremy Harness
SAN FRANCISCO–It’s time to revisit The Slap Heard ‘Round Major League Baseball.
Under normal circumstances, a three-game weekend series between a third-place team and a cellar-dweller is really nothing to get all worked up about. However, Friday night hit a little different, as this was the first time the Reds and Giants have seen each other since Cincinnati outfielder Tommy Pham slapped Giants outfielder Joc Pederson over, yes, a fantasy football dispute, prior to a May 27 contest between the two teams.
Reportedly, Pham had accused Pederson of cheating the rules of the league. Meanwhile, Angels star Mike Trout, said league’s commissioner, has gotten caught in the crosshairs, as Pham has called him the “worst commissioner in fantasy sports.”
The confrontation occurred in Cincinnati, and Friday marked the Reds’ first visit to San Francisco this season. So this was the perfect time for Giants fans to return the pettiness, and those in attendance at Oracle Park made it clear that they were here for it.
Boos rained down for Pham when the starting lineups were announced, and when he strode to the plate in the top of the first, the crowd really let the dude have it.
And they weren’t about to let it slide after the first at-bat, either. They kept the same energy with each plate appearance, and during his second trip to the plate in the third, boos were accompanied with “he’s a bum!” chants. To their utter delight, Pham hit into an inning-ending double play moments later.
Since the, well, minor incident, Pham has started to make contact with the baseball. He is hitting .316 with five home runs and has driven in 16 runs in his last 21 games to increase his season average to .253.
Pederson, on the other hand, has been slapping it around all year. He has 16 homers in 2022, which is eighth-most in the National League, to go along with 38 RBI. Furthermore, he has hit .321 since May 24 with nine homers while knocking in 24 runs, and his 1.088 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) is the fifth-highest in the majors.
Neither man had much success on Friday, however, as both men finished the night by going 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
Pederson has said he has not spoken to Pham since the now-infamous occurrence, so at this point, there is no telling how long this beef will go on. But one thing is for sure: the fans inside Oracle Park made sure that it wouldn’t die down very quickly.