Justin Verlander and Kate Upton know how to make hats look good. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Astros ace Justin Verlander pointed up to his wife Kate Upton and his daughter after another brilliant postseason start. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Astros ace Justin Verlander may be 40, but he's still a Man in the postseason. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Justin Verlander, Kate Upton and their daughter Genevieve have a way of making their Houston moments count. Now Justin Verlander is back in town thanks to Astros owner Jim Crane's trade push, (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
The Twins found themselves chasing plenty of hard hit Astros' balls. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander still can bring the heat when he needs to make it happen. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
The big crowds have been there all season and the playoffs means more Minute Maid Park sellouts. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Everyone wants to high-five Justin Verlander. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena is flashing his Heart sign in October again. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Carlos Correa knows his Twins have an uphill battle against the Astros. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
An unusually smiley Justin Verlander keeps looking up to the Minute Maid Park stands as he’s interviewed live on national TV. To a luxury suite where Verlander’s wife Kate Upton and the couple’s 4-year-old daughter Genevieve are waving down to him.
It’s a sweet scene. One that offers another side of Verlander, the Houston Astros’ 40-year-old ageless ace who still dominates teams with a stone-faced intensity. FS1 reporter Tom Verducci cannot help but ask Verlander about it on the broadcast.
“It’s always a pleasure to look up and see my family,” Verlander says. “Especially my daughter. We have a day game (for Game 1 of the ALDS) so she’s able to come. To see her up there and be able to smile and say I love you is just what it’s about.”
This is what an actual grownup sports romance looks like. Forget the endless frenzy and breathless (and sometimes tasteless) speculation over Taylor Swift and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s dating. No one is wondering if Justin Verlander and Kate Upton’s relationship is fake or not. They’ve built a real life together, somehow largely staying out of the paparazzi spotlight while doing it.
Verlander talked about Upton and Genevieve during the national broadcast of the Astros’ Game 1 win over the Minnesota Twins. But that’s not something he does often at all. And in this case, he only does in the midst of the sweetest of family wave moments.
With mom and daughter waving back and blowing kisses. Genevieve is decked out in a sparkling jacket that any near 5-year-old would adore. Upton is wearing an orange sweeter (not the Astros jacket one she’s made famous) and jeans.
Verlander’s also just thrown six shutout innings in his 35th playoff start, helping push Houston to the kind of early advantage that’s essential in these dangerous short best-of-five early round series. For Verlander that’s now a stretch of 19 innings where he has given up only one combined run. This ever recalibrating ace seems to have found something late in the season, a way to adjust to Major League Baseball’s new pitch clock, less pitcher recovery time world.
Give Justin Brooks Verlander enough time and he’ll almost always come up with a viable solution.
“I don’t know,” Verlander says. “I guess you just adapt and do whatever you can to be successful, I think. In my career, I’ve changed drastically multiple times.
“So I think, to your point, I think what feels really good is that when you start off struggling and are able to make some adjustments and find it.”
“It’s always a pleasure to look up and see my family. Especially my daughter. . . To see her up there and be able to smile and say I love you is just what it’s about.” — Astros ace Justin Verlander
Verlander certainly has found something of a sweet spot in this unexpected return to Houston and the franchise where he’s already won two rings. Verlander, Upton and Genevieve have always loved their Houston life.
It’s an authentic life with real friends not celebrity entourages. Daily publicist consults and brand strategizing not needed. Let the Swifties and those crazy kids Taylor and Travis enjoy the circus. This is something deeper than that, something worth getting all smile-happy and wavy for.