By Jamie Samuelsen

In case you missed it – Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander is reportedly dating supermodel Kate Upton.

Oh, you didn’t miss it?

That’s probably because Kate Upton is the most searched topic on Yahoo. And stories of Verlander and Upton are the most-read stories on local news websites. And Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball. And pictures and rumors of their relationship have started to dominate some of the sports blogs over the last 48 hours. And Wojo spent the start of our show last night trying to come up with a nickname for Detroit’s new super-couple. (The winner seems to be “Uplander”.)

So here’s the larger question. Do you care?

Should you care? Of course not. This is a man and his personal relationship with a woman. It’s his private life and he’s entitled to do whatever he wants. He’s beholden to Tiger fans only to pitch every fifth day and do the best that he can to win as many games as possible. If we lived in some alternate universe where these were the only things that mattered, this story would be done.

But we don’t. Should you care? Of course not. Do you care? Well, that’s entirely up to you. But seeing as we have literally hundreds of shows, magazines and websites that are built around the lives of celebrities – this is a story. When NBC Nightly News mentions the fact that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are splitting up, that pretty much sets the standard. It’s safe to say that TMZ will be contacting free-lance photographers in Detroit very soon to see if Verlander and Upton step out again.

If Verlander were dating a random woman from St. Clair Shores, it wouldn’t really matter. But the moment he chose to date (allegedly) one of the most popular supermodels on the planet, things changed. Ask Tom Brady. Ask Tony Romo. Ask Sean Avery. All have dated actresses or models. All have seen their private lives become very, very public. The same will happen with Verlander. Odds are that it will have no impact on his pitching. And the odds are that if something bad does happen with his pitching – people will wonder if his personal life has anything to do with it.

It’s not right. It’s not wrong. It’s just the way things are in 2012. You may not agree with that. But if you don’t agree with that, I find it very surprising that you just read the last 400 words telling you why you actually do care about it.


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