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Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander still isn’t over his former team’s writers. Verlander had a Detroit Free Press writer banned from the Astros clubhouse following Verlander’s loss to the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Following the contest, a 2-1 win by the Tigers, Anthony Fenech from the Detroit Free Press attempted to enter the Astros clubhouse with the rest of the media. When Fenech got to the clubhouse, he was apparently told he could not enter. Three Astros security guards were present to make sure he was not able to get into the clubhouse. Fenech photographed the three guards.
Verlander told the Astros he would not do his general media session if the longtime beat writer was in the clubhouse.
Once Verlander wrapped up his conversation with the media, the Astros let Fenech into the clubhouse. Fenech said he approached Verlander and asked about Wednesday’s game, but Verlander walked away after telling him, “I’m not answering your questions.”
It’s unclear why Verlander was upset with Fenech. It’s possible a tweet was to blame. Following the game, the Detroit Free Press sent out a snarky tweet about Verlander picking up the loss.
— Detroit Free Press (@freep) August 22, 2019
The headline on the actual article and the article itself are totally normal, and make no snarky reference to Verlander pitching the Tigers to victory. It’s possible the writer of that article had nothing to do with that tweet.
On Thursday, Verlander addressed the issue, saying he did not speak to the reporter due to “unethical behavior in the past.”
I declined to speak with the @freep rep last night because of his unethical behavior in the past. I reached out to the @freep multiple times before the game to notify them why and to give them an opportunity to have someone else there. Ironically they didn’t answer.
— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) August 22, 2019
The Free Press will protest the issue to Major League Baseball and the Astros. Restricting a member of the press from a clubhouse goes against the mission of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
MLB agreed with that assessment, telling MLB Network’s Jon Heyman that Fenech should have been allowed in the clubhouse at the same time as every other member of the media.
The Astros, however, stood by their decision to keep Fenech out of the clubhouse. The team cited “past history between Fenech and one of our players.”
(Yahoo Sports MLB H/N: HardBall Talk)
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