Ted Berg, USA TODAY Sports
If Kate Upton and Justin Verlander are dating, they don't want you to know about it. And that makes sense, because why would a gorgeous swimsuit model and a handsome Cy Young Award-winning pitcher want anything to do with each other?
In an interview with FOX 2 Detroit on Thursday, Upton clammed up when reporter Jason Carr asked a lengthy and leading question about her "boyfriend Justin Verlander" and if "there are any plans for any nuptials," making for an intense moment of beautiful awkwardness. "Actually, I'm single right now," she said, "so I spent my [Valentine's Day] in Melbourne, Fla."
Perhaps in response to - or playing along with - Upton's blast on Detroit's morning news, Verlander tweeted the following Thursday evening: "Happy Valentine's Day ladies."
Thus far, the only confirmation of any romance between the pair came from Verlander's grandfather, who said in October that he "heard he has been on dates with a Sports Illustrated girl," and added that the Tigers' ace is "a good looking man, too." And in all seriousness, it's hard to figure how it would benefit Upton or Verlander to publicize their relationship - besides the obvious bragging rights on both accounts.
If Verlander struggled at any point during a well-documented courtship with a supermodel, or, worse, if he acknowledged breaking up with Upton and then struggled - coincidentally or not - he'd inevitably face prying questions and charges of being distracted with off-field pursuits from fans and the media. And perhaps Upton and her advisors realize that no small part of her appeal comes from the tiny but extant hope among legions of 20- and 30-something single men that they might someday land a date with the down-to-earth model despite no major league wins on their resumes and pedestrian fastballs that cross the plate somewhere well below Verlander's mid-90s heat.
Assuming the two are dating, or at least were dating as recently as their reported vacation to St. Thomas over New Year's, the relationship doesn't seem to have distracted either from success. Verlander pitched about as well last year as he did during his MVP season in 2011, and went on to post a 2.25 ERA in the postseason in 2012. Upton just landed her second straight Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover, becoming the first model in over a decade to score top billing in back-to-back years.
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