Farhan Zaidi

San Francisco Giants president Farhan Zaidi smiles before a Cactus League game at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Feb. 22, 2020. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group/TNS)

Given how much he enjoys fantasy football, it shouldn’t be surprising that Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi had a lot of thoughts about the slap heard around the baseball world.

Zaidi spoke with Tom Tolbert and Adam Copeland on his regular “Tolbert and Copes” show appearance on KNBR and said he was in a fantasy football league with Joc Pederson when both were with the Dodgers — which is why Zaidi wasn’t shocked to hear about Pederson’s actions in the group text.

“He definitely likes to poke the bear, whoever the bear is,” Zaidi said on KNBR. “I’ve been on the receiving end of that.”

Tommy Pham slapped Pederson a week ago in Cincinnati over a dispute that originated in a high-money fantasy football league. Pederson said the issue stemmed out of his use of the injured reserve roster spots in the league, specifically mentioning 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr.

Pham also added that Pederson was sending memes and gifs that Pham felt were “disrespectful” to his former team, the Padres. Pederson added that he apologized for it right after Pham had an issue with the meme last September.

Pham’s slap earned him a three-game suspension, which took some of the humor out of the situation. But not all of it.

“You never like to see violence. Obviously, Joc is a big boy and he was fine, but it was a little unnerving,” Zaidi said. “Our players were pretty upset about it, understandably so. I mean, if that happens in the middle of a game, it’s a really big deal — God knows, it probably still would be going on.

“But the fantasy aspect of it? I mean, I can understand that. I’ve known Joc for a long time, and his sort of press conference where he was reading the details and stuff … I mean, he was really just trying to be sincere and forthcoming, but yeah, I couldn’t help but laugh.”

Zaidi also said Pederson’s explanation of what happened “was like Congressional testimony, the way he was talking through the details of his stuff.” But he also knows his own fantasy football playing ways can push the limits.

“I have a lot of fun in leagues going right to the edge of the law,” Zaidi said. “Maybe he was doing a little bit of that, and that gets people’s blood boiling, clearly.”

But if it works, it works. In the Dodgers’ old fantasy football league, Zaidi he once won multiple titles in a row and wasn’t shy to let everyone know about it. So if anyone knows how something like this could happen, it’s Zaidi.

“That’s fantasy football in a nutshell,” Zaidi said. “I mean, it’s a bunch of grown people acting like kids and yeah, it’s a lot of acting. It’s a lot of play acting. I guess sometimes it goes a little too far.”

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