Reporter Anthony Fenech was kept out at the request of Verlander.

By Alaa Abdeldaiem
August 22, 2019

A Detroit Free Press reporter was barred from the Astros' clubhouse by team security following the Tigers' win over Houston Wednesday night, the outlet revealed on Thursday.

According to the Free Press, Astros vice president of communications Gene Dias said reporter Anthony Fenech was prevented from attending Justin Verlander's postgame media session at the starter's request. Fenech has been the Tigers beat writer for the outlet since 2015 and has a BBWAA-issued credential.

When Fenech was blocked from entering the clubhouse with other credentialed media at 9:35 p.m., he informed MLB vice president of communications Mike Teevan, who said he would reach out to Dias and address the issue. Fenech was granted access at 9:41 p.m., after Verlander's media session had ended.

Verlander refused to answer Fenech's questions when the reporter approached him afterward.

"Blocking a working reporter from doing his job is unprofessional, disappointing and intolerable," Free Press executive editor Peter Bhatia said. "We will be protesting to MLB and the Astros."

Verlander addressed the issue on Twitter Thursday morning.

"I declined to speak with the @freep rep last night because of his unethical behavior in the past," Verlander wrote, referring to Fenech. "I reached out to the @freep multiple times before the game to notify them why and to give them an opportunity to have someone else there. Ironically they didn't answer.

"Althought I tried to avoid this situation altogether, I've still reached out to @freep multiple times today with no response. They're still not interested in my side of the story," Verlander added.

Verlander did not provide details into Fenech's alleged "unethical behavior" but the team released a statement in which they cited "Verlander's legitimate concerns about past interactions with Fenech" as the reasoning behind his delayed entry. The team added that it was an isolated case and stood by their chosen course of action.

Blocking a reporter from clubhouse access violates BBWAA protocol and could violate sections of the MLB collective bargaining agreement.

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