When there are battles in professional sports, it can sometimes take years before the facts come to light. Rumors will swirl, spicy bits will be attributed to anonymous sources, and years later the people involved will finally explain what happened.
In the case of Friday slap heard around baseballhowever, fans just had to wait for Joe Pederson to reach the club after losing the San Francisco Giants 5-1 to the Cincinnati Reds on Friday.
Pederson, a Giants outfielder, confirmed what The Athletic reported and social media buzzing for: Tommy Pham, an outside player for the Reds, hit him before the game over a fantastic football deal that Pederson says he made more than a year ago. Not really.
“Yes, it happened,” Pederson said when asked directly about the slap.
On Saturday, Major League Baseball responded to the incident by eliminating Pham for three back-to-back games until Friday. Pham told reporters in Cincinnati, including C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic, that he would accept the removal. Pham said Pederson was cheating, and besides, has made “disrespectful” comments for the San Diego Padres, the former Pham team.
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Pederson confirmed this on Saturday, share group chat details with reporters, including a meme that mocked the Padres for underperformance.
“It’s true, I sent a GIF that mocks Padres,” Pederson said. “If I’ve hurt anyone’s feelings, I apologize.”
The slap happened in the left field just before the match and led to disagreements between the teams as to whether Pham should be allowed to play. And in the eighth inning, there was further confusion when Kapler called Jale McGee, only to be informed that McGee had been mistakenly excluded from the lineup card for the day, making him inadmissible to play.
Violence between Pham and Pederson is not unheard of in sports. Charles Oakley, a crushing NBA player for several teams, has confirmed over the years that he has defeated a host of players, including Hall of Fame members Charles Barkley and Scotty Pipen – Pipen was an Oakley teammate at the time – and once attacked Tyrone Hill. time of a gambling debt shootout.
But Friday’s incident was simply distinguished by the level of detail Pederson was willing to offer afterwards.
Asked what happened, Pederson explained that he and Pham played together in a fantasy football league. More than a year ago, Pederson said there was disagreement over a deal he made in which he moved a player who was on the injured reserve. He said a text message sent to a group chat about the league accused him of cheating to “cover up” players on his bench. He did not say directly that Pham had sent the message.
“I looked at the rules and sent a screenshot of the rules saying that when a player is excluded, you have the right to put them in the IR, and that’s all I did,” Pederson said.
Pederson expressed confusion that Pham was upset by this move; he said Pham had made a similar deal with his own roster, going so far as to suggest who the player in question was with Pham’s team.
“It so happened that he had a player, Jeff Wilson, who was out, and he had him in the IR,” Pederson said. “I said you literally have the same thing on your bench.”
Pederson said Friday’s incident did not have many preconditions. Pham approached him, asked if he remembered the problem, Pederson confirmed that he had done so, and Pham punched him in the cheek.
Pederson said he chose not to take revenge.
“I was not emotional and I don’t think violence is the answer,” he said. “So I kind of left the situation.”
Fam, who received an undisclosed fine in addition to the suspension, will be eligible to return to the two-game series of Cincinnati against the Boston Red Sox, which begins Tuesday.