Whether it was Fenech’s drunk driving escapades that led to an injury accident; his propensity to hit on married women; his stalking behavior at Central Michigan; his Facebook harassment of women; or his 180 from Tigers cheerleader to Al Avila’s biggest critic in the Detroit media world, we’ve covered it all and then some.
But then something strange occurred this past summer. The Downriver Degenerate completely disappeared off the face of the Earth. It has now been 164 days since Fenech posted a Tweet. When the MLB season started after the COVID-19 delay, Fenech was no longer writing about the Tigers. In fact, his most recent article to appear in the Freep was a story about the death of Reverend Stephen Rooney, a preacher from the Archdiocese of Detroit who died in a boating accident. Before that last submission, Fenech had been writing about a rare Michigan earthquake; a marijuana seizure at the US/Canada border; and drive-thru coronavirus testing.
Nothing about the Detroit Tigers,whose season had reconvened on July 24th. Even more curious was Fenech’s tabbed replacement on the beat. Some kid named Evan Petzold. As of this writing, the man the Free Press has covering the Tigers on a daily basis STILL has his position listed as “Intern” on his Twitter bio!!!!l
An intern? This is a paper that used to employ the President of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America as their Tigers reporter as well as another writer who graduated from Harvard and is now one of the most prominent national baseball writers in the country. (Don’t get me wrong, Petzold has been a huge improvement on the beat and Secretary of State records don’t show him ever owning a PT Cruiser.)
But where is Fenech? No Tweets since July from a once prolific social media user. No articles since August 28th.
I sent an email to the paper’s Sports Editor, Chris Thomas, asking Fenech’s whereabouts and if he was still employed at the Freep. No response.
I sent multiple text messages to Fenech’s cell phone requesting information about his status. No response.
I have asked several members of the Detroit sports media if they know where the guy has been. Nobody knows anything. Hell, I even had one sportswriter in town text ME to see if I knew what the fuck was going on.
I even reached out to a “girlfriend” of Fenech’s and couldn’t get any info.
What makes this story even more wacko is it appears that around the time of his disappearing act, he deleted almost all of his “Likes” on Twitter. Only five remain. And three of those are Tweets from his former paramour at the Freep, Stefanie Murray.
You might remember the Murray/Fenech saga. Murray was supposedly Fenech’s superior at the paper so when it was discovered the two were banging in the Freep parking structure, she was unceremoniously sent to Nashville to work at the Tennessean.
Why did he delete all of his Twitter “Likes” except those five? I mean, this isn’t a guy who has ever seemed too concerned about cleaning up his social media history.
Which gets us back to the question of where the guy is. I have received unsubstantiated tips regarding what may have occurred, which, if true, would be extremely disturbing. But since the Freep won’t respond and everyone else has clammed up it is still a mystery.
And his employer flat-out refusing to respond to Fenech’s disappearance is precious. In August of 2019, there was a big controversy between former Tigers ace Justin Verlander and Fenech in Houston when JV had the Astros refuse to allow Fenech access to the team’s clubhouse. The reason the future Hall of Fame pitcher gave for his refusal to be in the same room as Fenech was past “unethical” behavior on the part of the Detroit scribe. Maybe Verlander is a DSR reader.
Anyway, the issue ended up becoming a huge national story with most people defending Fenech and nuking Verlander for childish behavior.
Chris Thomas went so far as to publish a 1,500-word defense of Fenech documenting the relationship between the two over the years. In all of my years reading newspapers, magazines, websites, etc., I had never seen an editor go to those lengths to protect a writer. Thomas sure had all of the answers when it came to Fenech back then.
Of course, the same paper never responded to inquiries from the DSR about Fenech’s past abhorrent behavior toward women, including the sexual harassment of a fellow student at Central Michigan when Fenech was writing for CMLife.com.
The same paper that ghosted me when I asked why they allowed their Tigers beat writer to attend the team’s Fantasy Camp for FREE, which was a clear ethical violation for a reporter.
And now that Fenech has vanished, they still remain silent.
One of these days we will find out what happened between Fenech and life. We haven’t reached the Jeff Pearlman knocking on Sports By Brooks’ door yet of this saga, but we are getting close.
Until then, I will continue to hum “Where in the World is Anthony Fenech?”
Do it, Rockapella!!!!