A Detroit Free Press reporter was barred from the Houston Astros’ postgame press conference last night because Justin Verlander said he would refuse to speak with media if the reporter was present.
Anthony Fenech, who has covered the Detroit Tigers for the Free Press for four years, was blocked from entering the press conference, which is a violation of the Baseball Writers Association of America regulations, at Verlander’s insistence. Gene Dias, the Astros’ vice president of communications, said that Fenech was prevented from doing his job at Verlander’s “request,” according to the Free Press.
As reported by the Free Press, Dias said, “Verlander was ‘adamant’ that he would not speak to any credentialed media while Fenech was present.” (The day before, Verlander had refused to speak to media while Fenech was there.) The Free Press wrote:
Fenech contacted Mike Teevan, MLB vice president of communications, who said he would immediately reach out to Dias regarding the issue. Dias eventually gave Fenech access to the clubhouse at 9:41 p.m., after Verlander’s media session had ended.
Once inside, Fenech approached Verlander, who said: “I’m not answering your questions.” When asked to comment on Wednesday’s loss, Verlander walked away.
Verlander pitched a complete game and gave up two home runs in the Astros’ 2-1 loss to the Tigers. Deadspin reached out to Fenech to ask about the incident and left multiple messages with the Astros. We will update if we hear back.
Update (1:20 p.m. ET):
Update (5:15 p.m. ET): The Astros sent the following statement to Deadspin.
Reporter Anthony Fenech was delayed temporarily from entering the Astros clubhouse following last night’s game. This course of action was taken after taking into consideration the past history between Fenech and one of our players, Justin Verlander, Verlander’s legitimate concerns about past interactions with Fenech, and the best interests of the other media members working the game. We chose to prioritize these factors when making this decision. Fenech was allowed access to the clubhouse shortly after other media members and had the opportunity to approach Verlander or any player he needed. We believe that our course of action in this isolated case was appropriate.