Mike Trout being the worst commissioner in sports is not the development I expected from 2022. On the field, the Los Angeles Angels star is finally attaining similar levels of individual and team success. The Angels are competing for the American League Wild Card, their pitching is much-improved and he’s healthy after a 2021 season that was nuked by injuries.
However, off the diamond, he’s engaged in a scandal of relatively tiny proportions. However, any minor Trout controversy should be graded on a curve. Prior to Tommy Pham’s slap heard ‘round the world, the most interesting tidbits to leak about Trout were his Weather Channel call-ins during the lockout, how ownership of his own weather balloon, andddddd zzzzzzzzzz….. Sorry, just dozed off reading about his hobbies.
Nice guy, best player in Major League Baseball, but apparently a terrible commissioner if Pham is being honest.
Baseball finally cut through the noise in late spring on the backs of their interest in the NFL and fantasy football is a testament to the ubiquity of professional football. You’d never hear of two NFL players slapping each other over a fantasy baseball bet.
While discussing the league, Tommy Pham called out Trout, who was commissioner of their $10,000 entry fee 12-team league. Trout has gone from awe-shucks superstar on one of baseball’s most irrelevant franchises to the commissioner of the most controversial fantasy football institution in America.
“Trout did a terrible job, man,” Pham told The Athletic somewhat facetiously while he spoke. “Trout’s the worst commissioner in fantasy sports.”
You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.
Not much is known about Trout’s tenure as commissioner. What we do know is that he presided over Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Joc Pederson, and Tommy Pham. We also discovered that he was incompetent about explaining the rules of the IR, which is strike one. He was unable to calm the waters once Pham and Pederson started instigating with each other. That type of apathy and inattentiveness is strike two. It’s not like he was busy between September and January. He had free time after a right calf strain ended his season.
Based on Pham’s comments, it’s not even a role Trout wanted or was prepared for.
“Nobody wanted to be commissioner, I didn’t want to be the fucking commissioner. I’ve got other shit to do. He didn’t want to do it; we put it on him,” Pham told The Athletic. “It was kind of our fault too, because we made him commissioner.”
Even Trout admits to a lack of institutional control. “A lot of people put their hearts to it. I do, too. I lost that league.” Trout told the New York Times.
In a high-stakes league that asked for an additional $10,000 bounty for the last-place finisher, tensions were bound to boil. Trout’s admission is strike three and why he should have been deposed posthaste.
Being a fantasy league commissioner is a thankless job. David Stern oversaw the growth of the NBA from a second-tier league into a professional sports monolith. What did he get for his troubles? He was roundly booed before every NBA Draft and he ate those jeers like a champ. Roger Goodell is easy to boo because he has the personality of a tapir. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is a bit of a putz and Gary Bettman is a dork.
There’s a little bit of all four in most endeavoring fantasy commissioners. It takes organization, and the spine to handle strong personalities and it sounds like the league was indifferent to Trout’s leadership style. Once the league members smelled weakness, chaos ruled. It’s safe to say he won’t be running MLB anytime soon.