It’s a thankless job, being the commissioner of a sports league. Sure, it comes with power, but everyone’s a critic. It may not be worth the hassle.
“Am I going to resign?” said Mike Trout, who plays center field for the Los Angeles Angels when he’s not running a suddenly famous fantasy football league. “I haven’t made that decision. I don’t know. But every commissioner I know always gets booed. “
Trout spoke to reporters outside the visitors’ clubhouse at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. The briefing was scheduled to talk about the Angels’ next series, a rare trip to Philadelphia, near Trout’s beloved hometown, Millville, NJ for interleague action. He also took a few questions, wearily, on the oddly captivating feud from his fantasy football league.
Tommy Pham, a Cincinnati Reds outfielder, slapped the San Francisco Giants’ Joc Pederson across the face before a game last Friday, earning a three-game suspension. Pederson outlined the dispute – he had insulted Pham’s former team, the San Diego Padres, with a group text in a GIF, and was accused of stashing a healthy player on injured reserve – and Pham revealed Tuesday that Trout was the commissioner. league, which has a $ 10,000 entry fee.
“Trout did a terrible job, man,” Pham told The Athletic, which reported that Pham at least hinted at a smile while he spoke. “Trout’s the worst commissioner in fantasy sports.”
Pham, who admitted nobody actually wanted to be a commissioner, said Trout could have solved the problems, but instead allowed them to happen.
The 2022 MLB Season
“Relax, all right? Don’t try to strike everybody. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls, it’s more democratic. “
- Look Good, Feel Good, Play Good. Smell Good?: For numerous players, a heavy dose of cologne or a women’s perfume is the impossible of the performance enhancers.
- The Third Baseman’s Gambit: Manny Machado is the hottest hitter in baseball, and he’s coming for your queen.
- The Loneliest Team in Baseball: The Oakland Athletics gutted their roster and flirted with Las Vegas. Now their fans appear to be in full revolt.
- King of Throws: Tom House has spent his life helping superstars get even better. With a new app he wants to fix young pitchers before they develop bad habits.
So, Mr. Commissioner, did Pederson cheat? Trout wasn’t saying.
“I talked to Tommy, I talked to Joc, everybody was a part of it – just passionate about fantasy football,” Trout said, adding later, “A lot of people put their hearts to it. I do, too. I lost that league. “
For all of his trouble controlling unruly owners, Trout’s problems cannot be compared to this vexing issue for Rob Manfred, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball: getting his sport’s best player back into the playoffs.
Trout, 30, has won the American League Most Valuable Player Award three times but has played in only one postseason series: a three-game wipeout by the Kansas City Royals in 2014. The Angels have had several losing seasons since; Even in 2020, with a 16-team playoff field shortened to a regular season 60 games because of the pandemic, they failed to qualify for the playoffs.
That kind of drought, in any sport, can be excruciating.
“I went through it rooting for the Eagles, and then they won the Super Bowl,” Trout said, adding later, “Obviously, all that I want to do is win here and get to the playoffs and see what happens. That ‘s the goal in this clubhouse. We’re going through a little skid right now, but we’ll get through it. “
The Angels lost their last six games in May, but entered June with a 27-23 record – good enough to be on track for a wild-card spot. Baseball expanded the playoffs this season to six teams per league, and every team with a winning record through May would qualify.
A contending Angels team would be a godsend for MLB marketers, with Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese star and the best two-way player since Babe Ruth, coming off his own MVP season for the Angels in 2021. An October showcase for Trout and Ohtani would An ideal way to grow the game.
“Being over here with Mike and Shohei, you get the draw, you get why people say that, because they deserve it,” Angels reliever Archie Bradley said. “Obviously, Mike and Shohei are the 1-2 face of baseball. It would be good for the sport, good for California. I get it, for sure. “
Trout missed almost all of last season with a calf injury but has quickly reclaimed his status as the sport’s premier player. Through Tuesday he was leading the AL in wins over replacement, according to Baseball Reference, batting .302 with 13 homers and a 1.038 on-base plus slugging percentage.
“This is actually the best I’ve felt, my body – besides that dive last night; I didn’t like that since I was a kid, “said Trout, who couldn’t snag a drive by the Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo on Tuesday. “I think the preparation I’ve been doing in the weight room, activating my legs instead of just going into things, that’s been helping me.”
The Angels lost on Tuesday, 9-1, with the Yankees chasing the Angels right-hander Noah Syndergaard in the third inning. Even so, the Angels ‘starters entered June with a 3.59 ERA, ranking 10th in the MLB – a major improvement for a team that finished 29th out of 30 teams in the starters’ ERA in 2019 and 2020 and 22nd last season.
Syndergaard – who had Tommy John surgery with the Mets in 2020 and pitched two innings last season – signed a one-year, $ 21 million contract last November. The Angels also signed right-hander Michael Lorenzen, a longtime reliever, for a year and $ 7 million and added him to the team’s six-man rotation.
“That really alleviates the idea of these guys going 190, 200 innings,” said general manager Perry Minasian. “We haven’t skipped the sixth starter on the off-days, and that’s by design, to make sure guys get proper rest. Because we know we’ve got a staff that’s different. We’ve got a couple of younger guys without a ton of big-league time, we’ve got a starter who was a reliever in the past, we’ve got a starter who threw two innings over the last two years, ve got Shohei – so it’s a different kind of rotation, from a historical standpoint, and we’re doing everything we can to keep them healthy. “
The Angels have not been so lucky with the health of third baseman Anthony Rendon, who is struggling through another subpar season. He was placed on the injured list last week with wrist inflammation, another pressing issue for a team whose bullpen has also stumbled lately.
“We know we’ve lost six in a row, but – in the best way – it’s the quietest, levelheaded, professional losing streak I’ve been a part of,” Bradley said. “We know we haven’t pitched well. We know the back end of the bullpen has to let some leads. But usually you can see a kind of energy shift, or you can see one side of the room get a little stir crazy. It’s a pretty mellow group, and that ‘s what makes me confident. “
More mellow, it would seem, than the rowdy bunch in Trout’s fantasy football league. Whatever happens with the Angels – and with his post as commissioner – it’s safe to say Trout will be competing in something at least this October.
“Everybody loves fantasy football,” he said, smiling. “Who doesn’t?”