Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is playing like a star.
Justin Verlander, Lance McCullers Jr.
Justin Verlander is an imposing presence for the Houston Astros on the mound. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
These aren't Justin Verlander's only sports b buddies. (Photo by Chris Baldwin.)
Astros ace Justin Verlander can seemingly tower over hitters.
Justin Verlander has gotten decidedly better since he relocated from Detroit to Houston. (Photo by F. Carter Smith.)
Andre Johnson, DeShaun Watson
NEW YORK — Jennifer Aniston has her Friends, capable of breaking the Internet. But Justin Verlander’s friends are much more interesting — and capable of stretching some minds.
The newest Verlander bud? Deshaun Watson. Yes, the Texans’ young quarterback and the Astros’ old-ish Hall of Fame caliber pitcher have become Houston’s latest unlikely sports buddies.
It turns out that the 36-year-old Verlander and the 24-year-old Watson have been going to dinners together, hanging out and talking shop. Hey, game recognizes game.
“He’s an incredible man,” Verlander says of Watson before Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium. “I think it’s been a lot of fun. Obviously, being in the same city and just kind of being in the spotlight like he is, I guess we just kind of relate that way.”
Houston’s long been a city where professional athletes from different sports form bonds with each. It’s one of the things that makes the Bayou City sports scene so unique. Sometimes it feels like one big Houston team.
Still, Watson and Verlander are not the first natural pairing people are likely to think of.
Watson and Verlander don’t have all that much in common at first glance. After all, Watson is one of the young, rising stars of the NFL. And Verlander is one of the most established forces in Major League Baseball. But they both carry themselves with an assured cool that apparently easily translates. Verlander often walks through the Astros clubhouse like a quarterback.
This Astros ace is hardly outdated. He did get a twentysomething supermodel to fall in love with him, too. Both Watson and Verlander’s cool bonafides are hard to dispute.
“Honestly, I was blown away after the first time meeting him,” Verlander says of Watson. “Just his demeanor, how smart he was. His charisma. All the things that you want to see in a young athlete.”
Verlander wants to make one thing clear though. He’s not playing big brother here. This is a mutual respect and hang thing.
“It’s not like I’m trying to mentor him,” Verlander says. “He’s just an awesome person I want to hang out. He’s an awesome dude.”
Isn’t that what Houston is all about? Moving here and bonding with your neighbor no matter your backgrounds?
Just when you didn’t think the Houston sports scene could get any more charming — or cool. Along came Justin and Deshaun. Who’s filming the future road trip? And who gets shotgun?