When Justin Verlander found out he was going to the Astros, one of the first calls he received was from pitcher Dallas Keuchel. After a short conversation, Keuchel let him know he wouldn't regret joining the team. As the 2011 AL Cy Young Award winner addressed the media before Game 1 of the ALCS presented by Camping World, you could sense he was more than confident in his decision to approve the trade. Verlander talked about the conversation with Keuchel and how he is now associated with his idol … Nolan Ryan.
While Verlander was warming up during his first game with the team, he happened to glance behind home plate and saw Ryan watching the game. The Hall of Fame pitcher-turned-Astros executive advisor played a special role in his childhood.
"If you don't know, he was my idol growing up," Verlander said, "And you couldn't get me to sit still for anything, but if a Nolan Ryan game, classic game or anything like that came on TV, I was glued to the TV for however long he was pitching -- which was often pretty long."
Verlander said to be in an Astros uniform during the playoffs is "pretty humbling and kind of a full circle moment" for him.
If you want to watch the entire interview, click the video atop this post.
To watch Verlander's first ALCS start as an Astro, tune in to Game 2 of the ALCS presented by Camping World on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET/ 3 p.m. CT on FOX.