(97.1 The Ticket) The he-said, he-said that erupted between a beat writer and one of the biggest stars in Major League Baseball is devolving into something that looks like an episode of "Real Housewives."
Fans and journalists were outraged Wednesday night that Houston Astros' ace Justin Verlander barred the Detroit Free Press's Anthony Fenech from talking to him following the Astros' loss to the Tigers, criticizing the multi-millionaire athlete to have thin skin.
On Thursday, Verlander unleashed his side of the story.
The 36-year-old, who spent most of his career with the Detroit Tigers, said he requested a different reporter before the game because of Fenech's "unethical behavior." When the Free Press wouldn't take his calls, he went a different route.
Fenech and the Free Press have not responded to calls from WWJ Newsradio and 97.1 The Ticket seeking comment.
So, what exactly is behind the animosity? No one knows for sure, but there's plenty of conjecture.
"I am a huge fan of yours, but you don't get to pick who they send to cover the games any more than the Freep gets to pick who takes the mound for the Astros. Give an example of the unethical behavior. You should know better than to act this childish," one fan tweeted.
"You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Just keep being JV," one fan tweeted in support.
Others were not so supportive.
"Question from the back of the class. How was Freep supposed to send someone else on such short notice when the game was in Houston, not Detroit? Follow up question. Did you try to contact them personally or is a rep telling you they tried for you?"
The Astros' block of Fenech from attending Verlander’s postgame media session violated Baseball Writers’ Association of America protocol and possibly the MLB collective bargaining agreement, according to a Free Press written report.
The Astros blocked Free Press writer Fenech at Verlander’s request, according to Gene Dias, Astros vice president of communications. Dias said Verlander was “adamant” that he would not speak to any credentialed media while Fenech was present.
The game ended at 9:22 p.m., and at 9:35 p.m., the Astros opened their clubhouse to credentialed media in coordination with MLB rules. As other media members entered the clubhouse, Fenech, who has a BBWAA-issued credential, was blocked by three Astros security officials.
Verlander tweeted that he tried to "avoid the situation altogether."