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The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Justin Verlander: Regular guy in the Taco Bell drive through

Justin Verlander has always seemed like a nice, fun, and most importantly "regular" guy through his five plus years with the Tigers. He brought the same presence to the studio for last night's episode of "Conan" with former NBC late night host Conan O'Brien.
During their chat, the two actually covered a lot of material, but most notably, Verlander's pre-game meal for games he starts: Nearly 100 grams of fat (nearly twice the recommended amount in a 2,000 calorie diet) worth of Taco Bell. Whatever is in there, it helped Verlander to be come the Tigers' first 20-game winner in decades (24-5), pitch the second no-hitter of his career (and several near-misses), his first (of likely many) Cy-Young Award as well as an improbable AL MVP award.

While most athletes push whatever brand they happen to be in cahoots with or whatever their trainer feeds them, Verlander touted the benefits of the fast-food lifestyle. Verlander's biggest-named endorsements right now come via Reebok and Rawlings, according to Crain's Detroit Business. But his marketability was said to skyrocket pending the results of award season, which went swimmingly for JV.
If Tigers fans were annoyed by the endless stream of TBS cross-promotion during the playoffs, so was Verlander, who got annoyed at the sight of the orange "Conan" blimp above Yankee Stadium.
The overpowering righty also talked about the upcoming MLB 2K12, on which he appears on the cover.
There are few athletes with personality willing and able to transcend the playing field and make fans feel like he or she is one of them. Verlander has that gift. Among many others.
(Watch the episode in its entirety here.)


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