Justin Verlander is having trouble finding "it" in 2013. He's been looking for "it" since April, and now, five months later, he's set himself a deadline for finding "it" -- the 2013 Playoffs. With only a handful of weeks left in the regular season, time is running out for Justin to find "it." I think I can help. As a dedicated Tigers fan, I write each of these columns to be helpful (in the sense of causing people to spontaneously shoot their drinks through their nostrils), so let's get right down to business.
The first thing to ask, when trying to find "it," is "where did you last see it?" The second thing to ask is "where were you when you lost it?" Let's retrace the steps. Everyone seems to agree that Justin definitely had "it" in 2011 and 2012. In fact, we all saw him using "it" in his two 2012 ALDS starts, and his 2012 ALCS start in Game 3. But he definitely did not have "it" in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series. His start in Game 3 of the ALCS took place at Comerica Park against the New York Yankees. Now, I don't want to start any wild rumors or anything, but we know what New Yorkers are like. Crime rates in New York have been steadily falling for the past few years, but they still have more theft-related incidents than, for example, an unsupervised prison yard. (Source: a friend of a guy I know whose brother once said he saw another guy get robbed in New York.)
And if you remember correctly, it was right around that time that A-Rod was also having difficulty finding "it," and then he suddenly disappeared for a long time, just as reports were coming out that he was going to be banned for PED use. I'm not saying he definitely did anything, but it's entirely possible that he stole "it" from Justin, and then sold "it" on the black market to buy PEDs.
If you think that's a stupid idea, stick around, I'm just getting warmed up here.
Another thing that happened during this same ALCS game is that Phil Coke came out of the bullpen and shut down the Yankees by, in part, striking out Raul Ibanez to end the game. Phil Coke, who had been a completely mediocre-to-messy pitcher for the past two years, suddenly became a dominant closer in the playoffs after Jose Valverde's final melt-down in ALCS Game 1. Again, I don't want to point fingers here, but I think it's at least possible that Justin, being the nice guy that he is, loaned "it" to Coke for a few games, and Coke accidentally lost "it" when he spiked his glove on the ground after the ALCS sweep. A struggling Jose Valverde saw "it" lying on the field during the celebration, and quietly pocketed "it" in the hopes of getting himself back on track, but eventually he left "it" in a hotel bathroom in Toledo, next to his beard-dyeing kit. Feeling ultimately responsible, Phil Coke volunteered recently to go to Toledo and see if he can track "it" down.
A lot of people who apparently have the number to the local sports radio show on speed-dial seem to think that Kate Upton might have something to do with Justin's struggles in 2013. This is entirely possible. I can easily imagine the scenario in which a love-struck Justin, trying to really impress Kate (note to self: insert vaguely dirty baseball-related double entendre here), decided to let her borrow "it" while he was in San Francisco, so she could show "it" to her friends and take "selfies" with "it" to later post on Facebook. Except, when things went south, Kate refused to give "it" back, even when Justin threatened to hold her Jersey Shore: Uncensored DVD collection for ransom until she gave "it" back. Justin has been trying to work through their mutual friend, Frank Viola III to get Kate to give "it" back, but Kate recently sent Justin a not-so-subtle message via Twitter that she's wise to his schemes, and Frank is on her side. Perhaps Frank is secretly hoping to get his hands on "it" as well.
Another popular theory is that Justin's performance issues are contract-related. This is a solid theory, but not for the reasons people think. It has nothing to do with Justin intentionally deciding to coast this year, now that he's finally hit pay-dirt (and believe me, if you've ever found a pile of pay-dirt and decided to hit it, you know what I mean when I say that this is possibly the stupidest colloquialism in existence). If anything, what happened is that the Tigers hired a very clever legal team to insert subtle language into Justin's new contract, language which awards the organization full ownership over "it" in perpetuity. If you've ever had to sign a contract of any kind, you know that they contain language which can only be understood by aliens (or lawyers -- but I repeat myself), and are very hard for normal human beings to comprehend. Oh sure, you always make an attempt to read a contract before you sign it, but your eyes start to glaze over after the first few sentences:
"I, the undersigned, in full passive and amended possession of my faculties, rights, personifications, glandular regions, etc., etc., do hereby and forthwith, without partial or pre-partial prejudice to the aforementioned and subsequently territorial parties included in the potential wherewithal and other assets, agree blah blah blah blah argumentative or otherwise spittle-flecked blah blah blah blah antithetical to all future past-participles and gerunds with which blah blah blah blah surrender my DNA and soul blah blah blah blah in exchange for a butt-load of money to be named later blah blah blah blah, SIGNED, JUSTIN VERLANDER, BLAH."
Whatever theory you choose to subscribe to (and I would heartily embrace all of them if I were you, just to be safe), I believe that Justin's next step should be to fire his current Search and Retrieval Consultant, Paul "Bono" David "U2" "Joshua Tree" Hewson. Clearly, despite having engaged in such advanced search methods as running through fields and scaling city walls, they have failed to find what they were looking for.
Now, perhaps you think this entire column was just one elaborate set-up to tell an embarrassingly sub-par Bono joke. Perhaps you should have thought of that before you started reading.
(Want to help Justin find "it"? Vote in the poll below!)