UPDATE: Verlander was not at the parade, and as far as reasons to miss a celebration the likes of this one go “getting married to Kate Upton” seems like a pretty great excuse. It’s certainly hard to hold that against him while watching the festivities unfurl in Houston.
The offseason is just starting for baseball, and there will be many trade rumors and random free agency murmurs floating around over the next few months as baseball resets for another season.
But before all the serious, legitimate rumors that actually have to do with what happens on the field arrive, I’m going to grade a rumor that popped up right after the Astros won the World Series for the first time in the team’s history.
Justin Verlander, one of the many heroes of the postseason for the Astros, hasn’t been an Astro for long. But he finally won the World Series he couldn’t quite get while in Detroit and the celebratory parade is happening on Friday afternoon in Houston.
The thing is, Verlander might not even be there to bask in the adoration of hundreds of thousands of fans as confetti falls, since he’s reportedly getting married this week.
The rumor is that because his planned wedding to Kate Upton is in Italy, he won’t be able to do both and is therefore skipping the parade and going straight to Europe.
Word seems to be that Verlander-Upton wedding is this weekend in Italy. He'll have to miss the parade presumably.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 2, 2017
So does this rumor have any merit? Let’s break it down.
Many people’s first instinct may be “which baseball player schedules their wedding for the weekend after the World Series?!” but you must remember that this wedding has been in the works for quite some time (the couple have been engaged since 2016) and Verlander probably wasn’t exactly predicting a World Series berth for himself when he was in Detroit.
That’s pessimistic about Detroit’s shot at winning anything, but based on literally everything it did that pessimism is pretty well-founded. So it’s not crazy that Justin and Kate would assume this weekend was open on their schedules.
The level of planning that must have been involved here should be considered, too. Even when Verlander got traded in August, and his chances of getting a World Series ring greatly improved, it’s not like you can just reschedule a destination wedding with an invite list of high profile guests. It’s ridiculous enough rescheduling a normal wedding, but one in Italy? No way that was happening.
Maybe they even liked that it worked out this way, so they can enjoy wedded bliss and a World Series win all in one magical weekend.
So if the wedding can’t be moved, that brings us to whether Verlander could appear at both events reasonably. It’s not an easy flight to Italy, but with a private jet or first class, you could make it there in less than 12 hours. Which means it’s not out of the question for Verlander to go to the parade in the afternoon, and take a red-eye flight to Italy that would get him there at the crack of dawn on Saturday in plenty of time to get himself together and get hitched.
Assuming the wedding is on Saturday (which we don’t know, reports just say “this weekend” and it may be a Sunday fête) that would mean he couldn’t participate in a rehearsal dinner or pre-wedding get together of any sort, and Kate would have to handle that portion of the hosting.
So while it’s feasible that he could make it to Italy after the parade ended, it doesn’t seem like he would choose such a packed schedule on his wedding weekend. Especially with Kate already bearing the brunt of the wedding planning during the season, he would probably want to be nice and support her in the homestretch and with final details.
After all of the plausibility of the rumor has been broken down, we come to whether there’s any merit in the sources. Jon Heyman (referenced above) doesn’t seem to have any confirmation on him missing or not, he’s assuming he couldn’t do both the same way we are. WXYZ Detroit says that he will miss it, but nobody else has confirmed that for sure.
Rumor Grade: B-
Nobody has corroborated the local news’ report of Verlander being confirmed to not go to the parade. Everything is running on assumption that he won’t be willing to fly overnight to his own wedding after being doused in champagne and confetti for hours on end on the streets of Houston.
While him missing the parade in favor of marrying his fiancee of more than a year seems like the correct outcome here, there’s also no hard proof that that is what he is doing. I give this grade a B- for being high on plausibility but low on details. There’s still a chance he’ll be there, until he isn’t.