Reporter Laughs, Hugs, Cries With Justin Verlander After World Series Win
Before last night Justin Verlander, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, had accomplished pretty much all there is to accomplish in baseball except notch a win in the World Series. He's now done that after gritting his teeth and gutting out five high-wire innings in Game 5 of the 2022 Fall Classic. Verlander departed with a lead and allowed his bullpen and Jeremy Peña to do the rest as the Astros prevailed now take a 3-2 lead back to Houston. Even if this thing goes seven, it's unlikely we'll see the ace back on the hill as he now sits back and awaits a third Cy Young Award and potentially a second championship ring.
This allowed him to be in a reflective mood postgame with a reporter covering the action in Philadelphia, one that allowed him to dip into a more emotional place than he does during the in-game interviews with Ken Rosenthal or Tom Verducci. He talked about how cool it was to do this with his daughter in the stands and what's important in life. Still, nothing prepared me for the journalist ending the interview by saying "I love you, man" and giving the victorious pitcher a hug. Didn't catch his name but that doesn't seem too impartial!
In all seriousness, this is great. The Verlander brothers have shared so many baseball dreams yet probably never this specific one. It'd be stupid to ask Ben to be anything but Justin's brother in these moments and he's getting better content being emotionally honest than he would trying to play it cool anyway.
As a Detroit Tigers fan, I had a horrible realization that, if he's not careful, Justin is going to go into the Hall of Fame as an Astro. It's enough to send a shiver down the spine. But dammit, it's hard not to be extremely happy for him if that's the case because he got to accomplish so much in such a short time with his second franchise.
See, this is what happens when you get into your late-30s and into full dad mode. You get perspective. Sometimes that manifests in winning a World Series-shifting game. Sometimes that manifests in being okay if some other dude wears a different hat in Cooperstown. Basically the same thing.