ESPN the Magazine published a feature story on Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts on Tuesday, and somehow it involves supermodel Kate Upton and her boyfriend, Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander.
Apparently, Upton befriended the Ricketts family as a 21-year-old through a family connection. Earlier this season, Upton was “holding court” in a Wrigley Field suite, mingling with Ricketts and other high-society types when she told the story of a day in 2014 when Verlander wanted to move past a bad start in a very special way:
“It was my birthday, and he had probably like his worst game ever, and no one had any idea how he'd respond to his worst game ever,” Upton says. “He vented to me in the car and was like, ‘I am going to get blackout drunk.’ So a bunch of us went out and got blackout drunk! I had really good plans to eat popcorn and watch a movie, but he was like, ‘I don't want to think about it, at all.’”
That’s right, even superstar athletes sometimes want to get toasted after a bad day at work. Upton’s quote got us thinking—how bad was this start exactly?
After pouring through years of Sports Illustrated magazines, consulting with SI’s Stats and Information department, and at least one meeting involving multiple layers of Time Inc.’s power structure, we came to a shocking conclusion: Justin Verlander didn’t start on Kate Upton’s birthday in 2014.
Upton’s birthday is on June 10. Verlander made a start against the Chicago White Sox on June 11, A FULL DAY (emphasis mine) after June 10. He pitched 5 2/3 innings, walking four and allowing seven earned runs on 122 pitches. We know the start was bad, but everything else is anyone’s guess.
Verlander's next start wasn't any better. On June 16 against the Royals, the righthander gave up 7 runs on 12 hits in six innings to fall to 6–7 on the season.
A shocking revelation. You can read the whole profile, which is presumably about the Cubs resurgence, here.
– Rohan Nadkarni