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Justin Verlander says Seahawk Richard Sherman would get a “high and tight fastball” if he played baseball

Jan 19, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

Justin Verlander Reuters

The Seattle Seahawks punched their ticket to the Super Bowl tonight thanks in part to some great defense by cornerback Richard Sherman. Sherman broke up a pass from San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, then had one of the most interesting post-game interviews you’ll ever find.

Shouting at the top of his lungs, ostensibly because the stadium was so loud, Sherman said to reporter Erin Andrews, “I’m the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like [Michael] Crabtree, that’s the result you’re going to get. Don’t you ever talk about me!” Andrews followed up, asking Sherman who was talking about him. Sherman replied, “Crabtree. Don’t you open your mouth about the best.”

The interview garnered some mixed reactions, including some from baseball’s premier players. Injured Mets ace Matt Harvey tweeted that the interview convinced him to root for the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. Tigers ace Justin Verlander was a bit more direct with his feelings:

Threatening to risk an opponent’s health and career with a “high and tight fastball” is far worse than being cocky in an interview.

Verlander has cooled down on throwing at hitters as he has matured. After hitting a league-leading 19 in 2007 and 14 in ’08, Verlander has hit a total of 24 over his last five seasons, including just four in 2013.

153 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. anxovies - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    Get real, Bill, since Verlander will never face him at the plate it was obviously a comment on Sherman’s cockiness in the form of a joke. And then you had to go on and give a sermon about Verlander throwing high and tight. Sanctimonious sports commentators make me want to throw chin music.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:00 AM

      Verlander is a douche, challenge him to a fight if you are so bad, no I will throw @ him and that will prove I’m better, get lost!

      • secretomen00 - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:11 AM


      • jimeejohnson - Jan 21, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        181 thumbs downs say you’re the douche.

      • bigmeechy74 - Jan 23, 2014 at 11:56 PM

        With moronic comments like that, It makes perfect sense that you are a yankee fan. How could you not be

  2. ralphe32 - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:30 AM

    Who really gives a Rats Ass what Justin Verlander thinks about any NFL player. Is Verlander going to say that he’s never been emotional after a big win? Richard Sherman just made a game-winning play, and was being interviewed about a minute later. Emotions run high – cut the guy a break!

    • mrpinkca - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:41 AM

      Verlander would first have to have a big win…

    • dan1111 - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:59 AM

      Players, including Verlander, make big plays or have great games all the time. They almost always manage to avoid making belittling comments about opposing players.

      • zapainhurtzalot - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:28 AM

        I agree! Harbaugh is the sorriest, low class act for a head coach there is. I could care less what Sherman said, or what Verlander said. It’s all about how it plays out on the field. I’m just glad to see Harbaugh knocked off his high horse and instead of Kapernick kissing his bicep he can kiss his own ass!!!

        Have a nice off season 49ers LOL!!!!!!!!

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:02 AM

      You mean that tweet didn’t leave him shaking, my money on Sherman.
      Verlander should focus more on winning a championship.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:31 AM

        I promise you that the reason the Tigers have not won a championship is NOT because of Verlander.

      • fanofevilempire - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:29 AM

        historiophilliac, I guess like Peyton, it is the manager and his teammates fault Verlander isn’t a champion.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:02 AM

        I think that you are referencing football there, in which case, I have no idea what that means. 😉

      • yahmule - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:50 AM

        What he was saying was irretrievably stupid, so, no great loss.

      • dexterismyhero - Jan 20, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        @historiophiliac–He just cannot stop talking about Peyton so don’t even try any discussions with him.

      • jimeejohnson - Jan 21, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        He’s one of the biggest NY aholes out of a whole lot of them.

    • bgrillz - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      If this was the first time trash has flown from that pie hole, sure, but this guy is the biggest trash talker in the league, and a cheater to boot. He is one of those Ryan Braun cases where he got off on a technicality for PED’s. Something tells me he will be quiet in 2 weeks when Peyton is carving him up on national television with everyone watching.

  3. gritzblitz66 - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:34 AM

    He went up to shake Crabtree’s hand and Crabtree pushed him in the face. I’d be pissed too. Harbaugh and the 9ers are the most disrespectful team in the league.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:05 AM

      Sherman made the play and he can talk all he wants, too bad he is being labeled crazy and out of control by white America, this is crazy, how about Brady and Manning walk up and down the sideline screaming.

      • daveflyfish - Jan 23, 2014 at 5:58 PM

        Playing the race card? Good for you! It’s always so much easier to blame the crackers in America, than to take responsibility for your actions. Newsflash…there are lots of people of color who were put off by Sherman’s remarks. He doesn’t get a pass for acting like a raging lunatic because of the color of his skin.

      • bigmeechy74 - Jan 23, 2014 at 11:57 PM

        wow you are annoying. “white america?”

    • eastonfmly - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:11 AM

      Everyone sees his exchange with Erin Andrews and choking motions but no one mentions that he patted Crabtree on the but and tried to engage him but instead got an earful from Crabtree. I would be upset also.

      • fanofevilempire - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:32 AM

        Crabtree has done a lot of talking since day one in the league and he didn’t even want to sign with the 49ers.Sherman made the play and Crabtree didn’t.

      • daveflyfish - Jan 23, 2014 at 6:15 PM

        Actually, a lot of people have pointed out Crabtree’s behavior. That still doesn’t explain Sherman’s meltdown. Remember, the Seahawks had just won the NFCChampionship game at home. That’s a highlight to any football player’s career.

        Emotions such as happiness, elation, joy…that’s normal. But we witnessed rage…the complete opposite of what you would expect. Who, in their right mind behaves this way? Answer…no one. Sherman was not in his right mind, and what 56 million people witnessed may be a side effect of PED use.

        Crabtree has a mouth, as do a lot of football players. Trash talk is a part of the game…on each and every play. Yet some people seem to believe that somehow, this time, Crabtree went too far. BS! Sherman simply displayed a level of rage we’ve not seen during a TV interview. The real question is…does this degree of rage reside in Sherman on every play? I don’t believe it’s possible to play in the NFL under that state of mind.

    • ctony1216 - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:36 AM

      Sherman didn’t go to shake Crabtree’s hand. Sherman slapped Crabtree on the butt and started talking trash at him.

      Totally classless act by Sherman. Here’s hoping the Broncos light up the Seahawks and someone on Denver shows Sherman how to not be a d@#k when you win.

    • asimonetti88 - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      If you consider making a choking gesture and hitting him on the back an attempt to shake his hand, sure.

  4. shuttaman1990 - Jan 20, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    Saying African Americans were happy before civil rights = Freedom of speech

    Saying you’re the best corner in the NFL and calling another WR mediocre = Classless asshole who should be condemned and have a fast ball thrown at your head.

    Ain’t that beautiful right? Just beautiful racism right? /sarcasm

    • Site Administrator - Jan 20, 2014 at 2:20 AM

      With the reference to Phil Robertson, you obviously did NOT read the interview. Otherwise you would have know he was talking about his personal experience with African-Americans, which he was asked about. Sorry it didn’t fit everyone’s preconceived narrative.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:36 AM

        Are you kidding me? “His personal experience with African-Americans”???? I think maybe you need to have some personal experience with some African-Americans so they can explain the issue to you.

      • secretomen00 - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:24 AM

        you can’t threaten someone’s health over emotional comments made after an emotional win. sherman was a bit immature, but verlander was even more immature, and he didn’t even play in the game!!!!!!!! wow.

    • michiganfan1 - Jan 20, 2014 at 3:21 AM

      Crabtree has been saying negative things about Sherman all the time and said so after the game too – net they are both acting like children – they both need to own up to their classless behavior.

      • daveflyfish - Jan 23, 2014 at 6:27 PM

        Agreed…the trash talking back and forth is classless, but I accept it as part of the game. Here’s the difference…Crabtree never went ballistic in front of the camera. In fact, I’ve never seen an athlete behave that way in a post game interview. People are making a lot of excuses for Sherman.

    • schke - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:52 AM

      I don’t recall Verlander saying anything about race. Why are you?

      • daveflyfish - Jan 23, 2014 at 6:32 PM

        Agreed! Anyone trying to make this about racism is simply trying to detract from the real issue – why did Sherman fly into a rage after winning the NFC Championship at home? Can someone say, “too much adderall?”

  5. moogro - Jan 20, 2014 at 1:29 AM

    That football thing is going on right now?

  6. ta3formforged - Jan 20, 2014 at 1:35 AM

    I don’t love what Sherman did but it’s tough to argue that he’s the best CB in the league. Let the guy enjoy the biggest play of his career.

    Unwritten rules in baseball and fighting in hockey are just stupid–just play the game.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:12 AM

      Couldn’t care less what a bunch of NFL ‘roidbags think, do, or say, but I have to take exception to the sloppiness of ta3formforged’s association between hockey fights and unwritten rules in baseball: fighting is allowed under the rules of hockey. There’s nothing “unwritten” about it – quite opposite. It has a purpose in the game itself that has to do with momentum, respect, and flow – for a whole team it can make a huge difference. In baseball, the unwritten rules seem to more often be invoked by a single player who feels he’s been “shown up” and who wants to be a crybaby about it.

  7. savvybynature - Jan 20, 2014 at 2:22 AM

    Throwing high and tight isn’t “threatening to risk an opponent’s health and career.” The aim is almost never to injure, the aim is to send a message.
    And the message is: “If you’re going to act like an a-hole, expect everyone to treat you like one.”
    Pretty fair message if you ask me, and Verlander just said that’s what would happen if Sherman played baseball, not if Verlander himself was pitching. It’s moot anyway since Verlander was likely just using a sports metaphor for his feelings via that 140-words-to-convey-exactly-how-you-feel medium that I’m sure sports writers never use to humor themselves, serious journalists that they are.

    • michiganfan1 - Jan 20, 2014 at 3:19 AM

      it was a stupid comment – he should just own up to it as opposed to trying to rationalize it. Think before you tweet.

  8. bearflagfan - Jan 20, 2014 at 2:41 AM

    Is there a more sanctimonious chicken$&@t than an AL pitcher whose target is 66 feet away with a catcher who will run interference if the batter charged the mound?

    • delius1967 - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      Well, there are the people who post on Internet forums, calling others chicken$&@t from the safety of their couches.

  9. yahmule - Jan 20, 2014 at 2:59 AM

    Yeah, he was shouting because the stadium was so loud and not because he had completely lost his composure.

    The Seahawks are ill prepared for two weeks of intense media scrutiny. The more people who get on Sherman’s ass about this, the more likely he’ll say more stupid things.

    • daveflyfish - Jan 23, 2014 at 6:46 PM

      So very, very true. I’m glad you picked up on Baer’s not-so-subtle attempt to disguise rage as talking loudly over the crowd noise.

      Sherman’s epic rant just put a huge bullseye on his back, and that of his team. Pee-cock fans think this is limited to the rivalry between the Pee-cocks and 49ers (or is it 40whiners?). No, no…the scope of this issue is so much broader than that. Verlander’d tweet…like it or hate it…sums up how most people feel about the issue.

      I’ve read dozens of comments from those saying they were neutral before, but suddenly have become Bronco fans for the SB. Not many people are saying Sherman’s comments suddenly turned them into Pee-cock fans.

  10. yahmule - Jan 20, 2014 at 3:06 AM

    At least the Seahawks fans are classy. Like the ones who threw food at 49er linebacker Navarro Bowman as he left the field on a cart.

    • michiganfan1 - Jan 20, 2014 at 3:18 AM

      Those fan are an embarrassment to the city – they should have a fine they can levy against such rude behavior. Have TV cameras on all the time and post pictures on late night TV with rewards for people than can name/ID the fans that break the rules. Do something – that’s just not right.

    • daveflyfish - Jan 23, 2014 at 6:51 PM

      That’s sad if true. I’ll only say that in every stadium holding tens of thousands of fans, there are low lifers who would do something like that. Still not cool, but not unique to Seattle either.

  11. bigmeechy74 - Jan 20, 2014 at 3:11 AM

    Wow. The author of this piece must be a laugh a minute and a joy to be around. Did you really say “threatening to risk an opponents health is worse than being cocky in an interview.” It was a JOKE. He doesn’t play baseball so how the hell is that a “threat?” My god i’m so sick of this hyper sensitive crap.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      So you’re not being hypersensitive when you attack the author of this piece?

      Just trying to figure out how you use words and stuff.

      • bigmeechy74 - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        Was that really an “attack?” Pointing out that it’s silly for him to get up in arms over a pointless tweet? Sorry man I’ll quit attacking people from now on

    • daveflyfish - Jan 23, 2014 at 6:56 PM

      I know…the author is trying to make Verlander into the villain, and not focus on the real issue.

  12. michiganfan1 - Jan 20, 2014 at 3:15 AM

    I am a Seahawk fan – Both Sherman and Crabtree need to mature. I hear this song ” I am a man” on TV – these guys seem more like grade school children than men. They both need to put aside the name calling and start acting like professionals that respect each others abilities and each other as human beings. Trash talking is for 5th graders.

    If they do not do it out of self respect they should do it for their fans and the children that look up to them. Set a good example of your city, instead of perpetuating all the negative perceptions about pro athletes.

  13. vikesdynasty - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:38 AM


  14. buddypuddy - Jan 20, 2014 at 5:07 AM

    Sherman’s rant was a bad example for kids. We have enough dweebs in Congress trash-talking as it is. People may say it’s a trash-talk culture but good sportsmanship will always win the day.

  15. hvoigt21 - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:58 AM

    if you didn’t know he played football….Sherman looks like your typical black,thug…

    • delius1967 - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:23 AM

      From your perspective, that just means he’s Black?

      • stex52 - Jan 20, 2014 at 2:02 PM

        That’s how I read the comment.

  16. janessa31888 - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:17 AM

    Yep, I ‘m going to be rooting for the Broncos in the Super Bowl.

  17. keltictim - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    I’m sorry where exactly did he say “throw at his head”? What I read was “high and tight”. He’s just saying back him off the plate and feed him some humble pie. High and tight isn’t the same as drill him in the head. Not in my book anyway.

    • realgone2 - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:04 AM


  18. realgone2 - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    Jeez! HBT bloggers are the most sanctimonious high horse riding bunch on the net. If they were the czars of sports then Baseball would be played with a tennis ball and a fungo bat. Football would be 2 hand touch and Hockey and MMA would probably be banned.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      “HBT bloggers are the most sanctimonious high horse riding bunch on the net.”

      Well, let’s see if they remove the following comment which will never see the light of day over at PFT:

      Looks like we’re gonna have ourselves a SUPER MARIJUANA BOWL this year.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:36 PM

        Ok, fine: most sanctimonious high horse riding stoners on the net. Happy? :)

  19. acorp11 - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    .. And Sherm would catch it. #gohawks

  20. chrisco716 - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    I like Verlander more and more. Great in his sport. Unlike Sherman.

  21. gregbanig - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    Aw, it’s so cute when little baseball players act like tough guys.

  22. cpinct - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    I thought it was funny how he scared the crap out of Erin Andrews. She was clearly caught off guard and had no idea what to do while Sherman was reminding us all about how great he is. That said, he is no different than many athletes that celebrate every time they do what they are paid to do. Had Crabtree made the catch, he would have done the same to Sherman. Sherman was on the NFL Network broadcast 30 minutes later and was very subdued (for him). He’s a good player, who made a good play in a critical situation, against another good player who is also vocal. End of story. I look forward to see how he and the Seahawks defense matches up against he Broncos in two weeks.

    • daveflyfish - Jan 23, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      I simply do not agree. If Crabtree had made the catch, would he have gone off in a psychotic rage? When have we ever seen someone show such extreme anger after WINNING the NFC Championship at home? Or in any other big win in sports.

      We witnessed rage. Sherman was foaming at the mouth. Who, in their right mind, does that? No one.

  23. sportsdrenched - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    So, America just watched several hours of dudes hitting each other. A dudes knee get taken out by a helmet, and all kinds of other violent things.. And THEN they’re offended when a player isn’t exactly an example of manners and proper english?

    What the hell do you think you’re watching?

    • daveflyfish - Jan 23, 2014 at 7:19 PM

      Hmmmm…I’ve watched hundreds of NFL games over the years, and cannot remember a single event even remotely as bizarre as this. Can you think of an incident in which a player flew into a rage after winning such a big game? I haven’t heard anyone come up with an example.

      I’ve listened to athletes act all high and mighty after a win, maybe make some cocky statements, etc, but underneath it all, they were happy. Sherman displayed rage. Extreme anger is not a normal behavioral reaction in this case.

  24. stex52 - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Way to fire up the comments with a content zero statement, Bill.

    Why don’t you go work the football blog and take most of these comments with you?

    • historiophiliac - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      Why is there so much football in my HBT? 😦

      • indaburg - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:59 PM

        I’m blaming Verlander.

        Anytime there is anything football related in the headline, our HBT neighborhood goes to hell.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 20, 2014 at 1:53 PM

        Blame Bill. He didn’t *have* to make a post about it. Football makes people cranky. Yuck.

      • stex52 - Jan 20, 2014 at 2:04 PM

        Good to see you in the neighborhood, Indy.

        No, I hang this one on Baer. He obviously needed a quick fix to fill out the day. Hence, the silly outrage. I’m guessing Verlander doesn’t pitch to Sherman anytime soon.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      You notice that he went with this tweet instead of Max Scherzer’s about yelling “Omaha” instead of just shaking Avila off. (whatever that means but it seemed football related)

  25. anxovies - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    You folks do understand that Verlander is a baseball player and Sherman plays football, right? The chances are very slim that they will ever meet at a time when Verlander has a baseball and Sherman stands still long enough for him to throw at Sherman’s head.

    • stex52 - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      The whole thing is just manufactured to generate comment hits. I wish I had skipped it.

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