10/24/2012 05:05 EDT | Updated 12/24/2012 05:12 EST

The Most Exciting Part About the World Series? Kate Upton

Steven Meisel

Not to suggest that the world revolves around Kate Upton, but given all the hoopla and hype afforded in recent days to the star-spangled awesome actress, supermodel, and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl (yeah, that's a thing), an observer could easily conclude that the World Series most surely revolves around her.

For the record, the 108th World Series will be contested by two of the game's more storied franchises, the Detroit Tigers against the San Francisco Giants. Storylines abound. Intrigue oozes. But all that abounds and oozes has been seemingly overshadowed by Kate Upton, and by what has become known in both baseball circles and the wacky world of celebrity gossip as The Question.

As Bob Nightengale wrote from the Motor City in USA Today: "Justin Verlander is taking the mound Wednesday for Game one of the World Series, given the responsibility of starting the Detroit Tigers' quest for their first title since 1984. But an entire city breathlessly awaits an answer to what fans really want to know. Is he really dating supermodel Kate Upton?"


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That's right. Is he? Isn't he? Are they? Aren't they? Inquiring minds want (OK, need) to know.

In case you're not a big baseball fan and crash-landed upon this article solely on account of Kate, in the world of star-spangled awesome, Justin Verlander is no slouch. He shares superstar status with teammate Miguel Cabrera (baseball's first Triple Crown winner since 1967) and his star shines solo as the team's ace and the game's best pitcher. A Cy Young winner, an MVP, a sporting god in Michigan with $46-million in career earnings. However, on the world celebrity stage, in this, the YouTube age, he ain't no Upton.

Consider: Kate was featured wearing nothing more than a Band-Aid brief bikini in a YouTube video, demonstrating a dance called The Cat Daddy, that has been viewed more than 11-million times. Combine this with the 9-million views she received for doing an adorable interpretation of another dance, the Dougie, during a break in the action at a Los Angeles Clippers' basketball game and you've got a Kate Upton Audience of 20-million. Just to watch her writhe, er, dance.

Consider: The combined home attendance of the combatants in this year's series -- the Giants (3,377,371) and the Tigers (3,028,033) -- is in the neighbourhood of 6.4-million. Granted these stats -- Upton Audience vs. Team Attendance -- aren't at all comparable considering, amongst other things, that YouTube visits are free and baseball tickets are overpriced, but still...

All of which brings us back to the most pressing issue: are they, or are they not dating?

For Verlander's part, he's being admirably quiet and incredibly coy on the issue -- surely anyone dating Kate Upton could be forgiven for erecting billboards and posting declaration videos online: "I'm not confirming or denying anything," Verlander says, with a grin. "I'll leave that to my grandfather. God bless him..."

Yes, even Verlander's 87-year-old grandfather has been drawn into the fray. Called up and confronted by an intrepid or unscrupulous (depending on your point of view) reporter, Richard Verlander Sr. confirmed to something called Celebuzz that his 29-year-old grandson is indeed dating Upton. Granted, grandfathers are not always the most reliable sources. My grandfather once insisted that raccoons had taken up residence under his bed. Which is to say, I'm sure he could have been coerced into admitting that I was dating a supermodel. Or, at very least, a model out of an old Sears catalogue.

Oh, there's further evidence. Upton was seen in New York wearing a Detroit Tiger baseball cap. Most people wear baseball caps for one of three reasons (a) they're having a bad hair day (as if) (b) their hair's falling out (as if) (c) they're dating Justin Verlander.

But, wait, there's more. They were together at an Aerosmith concert in early July. Followed by a stint in a bar wherein a witness swore the supermodel was "all over" the super pitcher. To boot, they've been spied eating together in restaurants. She watched a Tiger game from his private box. And on, and on.

Whoa! Me thinks that gramps was right.

Regardless. Whose World Series is this? Forget what happens on the field, the Tigers and Giants have already been outdone by Upton, crushed by Kate.