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Monday, May 16, 2011

Verlander announces program to host injured vets in Comerica suite

There are ways to use superstition to your advantage.

Well, at least to someone’s advantage.

In this case, the people who will benefit most from Justin Verlander’s superstitious nature will be veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Working through the Veterans Affairs hospitals in Detroit and Ann Arbor, Verlander will open his luxury suite at Comerica Park on days he pitches, to host veterans and their families, a program called “Verlander’s Victory for Veterans.”

“What a better way for me to say thank you than to bring you guys out, injured veterans to the ballpark to use my suite with their family to enjoy the baseball game — hopefully which I win for the team,” Verlander said to the disabled veterans who attended Monday’s news conference.
“Who knows where I’d be if I didn’t have the God-given ability to play baseball? I could very well be in Iraq or Afghanistan right now. It means a lot to me, what you guys do for our country and this city, and this is my way of saying ‘Thank you.’ ”

Verlander’s first cousin, Christopher Verlander, is currently deployed in Afghanistan. Both were regaled with stories from their grandfather, Richard, a World War II veteran of the Navy.
The story behind the suite’s lack of use during Verlander’s starts also bears telling.

“The first time I had the opportunity to use this suite, or my girlfriend Emily did, was one of my first starts here at home, and it didn’t go very well,” Verlander said. “So me and Emily, both being somewhat superstitious, decided that is never going to happen again.”

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