Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Fennelly: Meet the good men who left Verlander off Cy ballot

We always knew that world strife would eventually pit a supermodel against two sports writers. I know because I applied to the lottery to be one of the two sports writers.

The Final Conflict.

But Bill and Fred?

I laughed out loud when Kate Upton went bonkers with that sexually explicit tweet the other night after her fiance, Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, did not win the close race for the American League Cy Young Award, finishing second.

The last part of Upton's tweet we can print.

What 2 writers didn't have him on their ballot?

Bill and Fred.

I refer to my friend Bill Chastain, who covers the Rays for mlb.com, and my friend Fred Goodall, who covers Tampa Bay sports for the Associated Press. You probably remember them from the mlb.com and Associated Press swimsuit issues.

Neither Bill nor Fred listed Verlander on their Cy Young ballots. They both listed Boston's Rick Porcello in first place. Porcello won the award.

Firestorm. Heat from everywhere.

Bill and Fred. Mentioned in a sexually explicit tweet. From Kate Upton.

Meet two proud members of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Two guys who stand by their research and their ballots. Two guys from the very same town on the same skillet (how weird is that?), as if Bill and Fred alone lost Verlander the award, which they did not.

Kate Upton wants Bill and Fred … fired!

Two decent people.

I just want you to know them a little.

I've known Bill Chastain for 25 years. We both worked at the now departed Tampa Tribune. Bill is as easygoing a person as I know. He's also an author of more than 10 books. He has a wonderful wife and two wonderful grown children.

Fred Goodall has been with the AP for 40 years, in Tampa since 1983. He is unfailingly humble, kind and soft-spoken.

Fred's one of the deepest, most thoughtful people I've ever met. He hates attention. He just does his job. No agenda. No theatrics. Just Fred.

Fred hasn't done any media surrounding this, though there have been requests. Fred actually thought Kate Upton's tweet was funny. But his vote is his vote, he told me. I asked him if, when he started out in sports writing, he could see the day when he would run afoul of a supermodel.

"No, I didn't," Fred said.

No, I didn't.

Never once did I spot Bill and Fred drawing up anti-Verlander plans.

"I like the conspiracy aspect," Bill said. "It's like Fred and I were behind the wall in Dallas."

Bill said, "I can excuse Kate Upton and (Verlander's) brother, who was like challenging me, aggressive. But that's family. That's fair. But some of these other people out there, labeling me a sex criminal, talking about my mother, that's just terrible stuff. … I can honestly say I gave my best effort. It's all subjective. If you want to vote all on (wins above replacement), give me some criteria."

Bill laughed.

"Going after me is one thing. But Fred? Fred? C'mon."

I'm with Bill and Fred.

Or is it Fred and Bill?

I'm still working on my ballot.

Comments
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