By Jeff Moss
May 5, 2016
So, last month I was in the South Florida area to attend the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale. It was the final Kentucky Derby prep race for Gustav Nyquist’s namesake — who is the favorite for this Saturday’s”Run for the Roses” — and the three-year-old colt won the race with authority.
Coincidentally, Detroit’s baseball team was in town to start the season on the Tuesday following the Florida Derby. Unfortunately for me, my wife had to be back in town for a business meeting Tuesday afternoon so we couldn’t stay to watch Justin Verlander and the Tigers begin the season in Miami against the Marlins.
But the night before our early-morning flight back to DTW, we decided to dine at my favorite restaurant in the world …. the legendary Joe’s Stone Crab in South Beach.
And who happened to be sitting a few tables away from us that Monday, on the eve of the 2016 baseball season? Verlander and his longtime girlfriend, Kate Upton.
My wife was facing their party and couldn’t take her eyes off them. It appeared that both sets of parents were in attendance and maybe even Ben Verlander. Not really sure on all of the dinner guests but it seemed like quite a festive night. All of which led to this Tweet:
Well, it turns out that my wife’s nuptial spider senses were dead on as E!News quoted Upton as saying the two got engaged “right before (the) season started.” Was the dinner at Joe’s a celebration of the engagement? We can’t confirm that but it sure looks that way in retrospect.
And the whole world is celebrating the engagement of this power couple …
“Been this way for a long while.” A long while? Hmmm. In 2014 when JV’s phone was hacked and photos of other girls were found? Or when Justin and Kate broke up and she was dating Maksim Chmerkoskiy? Lynn with his finger on the pulse as always!!!!!
Anyway, after Verlander and Upton met at the filming for the MLB 2K12 video game commercial, there hadn’t been a lot of discussion regarding whatever happened to Justin’s ex-girlfriend and high school sweetheart, Emily Yeun.
The couple had been dating for a decade and cohabited together, which was all chronicled in this MLive.com article from March of 2011. Just months before Justin met Upton at the video game commercial shoot.
The pairing of Yeun and Verlander never got a terrible amount of attention even though they had been dating for years. The biggest news about their relationship occurred after JV’s first no-hitter against Milwaukee in 2007 when Yeun referred to Verlander as “her fiance” on the field after the game and Justin denied he was engaged.
So whatever happened to Emily Yeun? That’s where the story gets interesting.
The Tigers employed a gentleman by the name of Tyson Steele. He was with the team for a long time and had the prestigious title of Director of Team Travel.
And look, that gig is no George Costanza punchline. It’s a very nice paying job that also has the fringe benefit of extremely generous tips from both players and the coaching staff. I am told that some of these gratuities can reach into the THOUSANDS.
Well, after Verlander and Yeun parted ways, she started dating Steele. In fact, Steele and Yeun are now MARRIED.
So this must be an uncomfortable situation for Verlander, right? The club’s director of travel is married to his ex of ten years? Yikes. Well, not exactly. Steele no longer works for the Tigers.
I had heard rumblings that Steele was no longer a member of the Tigers organization because Verlander didn’t want him around once he had hooked up with Yeun.
So I reached out to Steele this morning by phone and asked him if the Tigers or Verlander had forced him out. Steele emphatically denied that his exit had anything to do with JV:
“He (Verlander) had no involvement whatsoever. …. It was my decision.”
Hmmmm. I am not going to speculate any further but if you allow your mind to wander for a few moments you probably can imagine some of the possibilities.
Research into public records show that in recent years Steele has purchased homes in Shelby Township, Virginia and Lakeland. And then later added Emily’s name to all three properties.
Wow. Either that team travel job was extremely well-paying or Steele really landed on his feet after leaving the Tigers.
Or SOMEONE gave him a really a big tip!!!!