Verlander delivers laughs on Conan

Justin Verlander has talked many times about his pregame routine of listening to music blaring through his headphones as he enters a ballpark on days he starts. He saved the story about his pre-gameday meal for the late-night talk show circuit.

When host Conan O’Brien asked Verlander about his pregame rituals during Wednesday night’s show, Verlander talked about his meals the night before he starts.

“The night before, as you can tell by my amazing physique, I eat Taco Bell,” Verlander said. “Every night.”

“You’re welcome, Taco Bell,” Verlander said as he turned to the camera.

(Link is here, since I can’t seem to embed the video on my blog. Also, according to Front Row Analytics and CNBC’s Darren Rovell on Twitter, that Verlander plug was worth $133,000. You’re welcome, indeed, Taco Bell.)

It was a rare relief appearance for Verlander, the Tigers ace who won American League MVP honors to go with the AL Cy Young award. But it was also a rare venue for him to try his hand at comedy. He retold the story of his hotfoot prank on teammate Don Kelly, which they replayed.

“The cup of water is really not enough if things get out of hand,” O’Brien joked.

While Verlander usually begins his mound outings by throwing his fastball at less than full velocity, he came to the set firing as soon as he sat down. He told O’Brien about seeing the giant orange Conan Blimp advertising his show flying over Yankee Stadium during their American League Division Series last fall.

“Here we are in the postseason in New York,” Verlander begins, “and you’ve got your blimp flying up there. It’s supposed to be a night game, and this thing looks like the sun. It’s huge!

“That’s what I had to stare at the whole game, because I’m a pitcher, so when I’m not pitching, I just sit around in the dugout and look around, because we don’t really do much. So every time I look up, I see this thing, and I can’t help it. I’m envisioning your face on the side of this blimp, and it’s just like haunting me the whole series.”

The show was taped in Los Angeles, where Verlander has been spending the week doing a shoot for the upcoming MLB 2K12 video game. Verlander was on Conan to promote the game, which features him on the cover pitching with special effects all around him.

“Do you like how you’re depicted on the cover? You look kind of like a superhero here,” O’Brien asked as he showed off the cover.

“I mean, it’s me. I look great,” Verlander said with a laugh.

Now, to be fair, Verlander isn’t the first Tiger to plug one of his favorite places to eat. Remember Chipotle’s Master Burrito Ambassador, Will Rhymes, last spring? Is there an equivalent title Taco Bell can give Verlander? Maybe an endorsement deal pairing Verlander with Giants closer Brian Wilson?


Oh, my goodness. He looked so handsome and dressed to the nines in casual sportcoat with some sharp shoes. I kept looking at them (maybe because I love shoes). Justin’s sense of humor and likeability in ’11 has changed my perception of him. The hot-foot was the first time I’ve ever seen one and still makes me laugh hysterically. So corny, but so much fun. I’ll never forget it.

Any chance you were looking at the shoes because they exactly matched the color of Conan’s desk? Am I the only one who noticed that?

No, didn’t notice the desk, but I couldn’t take my eyes off those shoes.

He did a nice job. He shouldn’t quite his day job and go into tv or anything, but was fun to see him especially gussied up. The taco bell bit was funny and just all around cool to see him get some recognition that typically is reserved for the Derek Jeter’s of the world – not sure how many Tiger players get asked for the late night talk show circuit!

Wow–Bud Selig extends for 2 years at 22 mil per year. just for being a DH (and that does not mean Designated Hitter in this case).

Didn’t notice the shoes matching the desk, but I’ll check it out tonight when my wife gets to see the DVR recording. I was anticipating them showing the hot foot video, but I wish they’d also have shown the pregame interview a few days later when Kelly and Verlander talked about it. Verlander tried to deny doing it, but Kelly tricked him into admitting it. That was the punch line to the entire affair.
MVP, video game cover, promotion tour. That’s how you end up on the talk show circuit.
Regarding Bud Selig’s extension, I guess we get to keep Mr. Dave for a couple of extra years.

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