LOS ANGELES, CA (WWBT) - Ask any baseball fan two months ago which Verlander would be part of the World Series, and most would have told you that reigning American League Cy Young Award winner and 2017 World Champion Justin was your guy. Turns out it’s his younger brother, Ben, who has taken his place behind the microphone and is making a name for himself.
“Baseball’s always been what I love,” the younger Verlander said on Tuesday before Game 1 of the World Series. “I love playing baseball, I love talking about baseball.”
That sport has always been a big part of Ben’s life. He starred at Goochland High School, went onto excel at the college level at Old Dominion and then spent five years in the Detroit Tigers' minor league system.
“I’m so passionate and I care so much about the sport,” noted Verlander. “I feel like it’s always come across really genuine and it’s because I am. It’s because I care.”
Ben gets to keep putting that passion to good use during the World Series, but this time, instead of stadium lights, it’s under studio lights. He’s been hired as part of FOX’s coverage of the 2020 Fall Classic between the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers, hosting watch parties across the network’s digital platforms with a number of big baseball names.
“Basically, it’s kind of like a casual kicked-back atmosphere with a bunch of guys that know the game really well,” he explained. “Basically, just a couple of friends hanging out watching the game.”
Among those guys who know the game really well, former Yankees Nick Swisher and Tino Martinez, who both have World Series rings themselves. Former Cardinal Rick Ankiel is also a regular, with special guests from around baseball joining the group at different times.
“I think it’s a really cool opportunity for fans to be able to get inside guys' minds who’s played at a professional level and guys like Tino, who was one of the best guys to ever do it.”
Ben got his feet wet during Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday night and hopes this might open the door to more opportunities. He says he feels like this is what he was meant to do and is having a lot of fun. Right now he’s just focused on having a memorable World Series.
“I had a blast on Sunday night and I’m really looking forward to hopefully six or seven games-worth of the World Series.”
When asked if there are any broadcasters to whom he looks up or takes pointers, Verlander answered Joe Buck. He says Buck does a great job and that he’s listened to him call baseball and football for years.
As for the series, Ben’s picking the Rays to hoist the crown.
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