DETROIT -- Tigers pitchers and catchers are still two weeks away from their first formal workouts of Spring Training. Yet Justin Verlander already has a win in 2012.
While the Giants were celebrating Sunday night with their second Super Bowl win over the Patriots in five years, Verlander was celebrating on Twitter over his prognostication that the Giants would win with a 21-17 final score, calling him a proud winner.
Verlander's pick was part of the Scripps Howard Celebrity Super Bowl Poll. The news service annually asks a selection of pro athletes, entertainers, politicians and other celebrities for their predictions. The one who picks the winning team and comes closest to the final score is honored with the Super Sage Award, which is an actual trophy.
A majority of contestants in the poll picked the Giants, but Verlander was the only one to choose a 21-17 final. NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson and actor Adam West had 21-17 finals, but with the Patriots winning. Nobody had the Giants with a 23-17 win, so even if New York had pulled off the two-point conversion when they scored the go-ahead touchdown, Verlander likely would've come closest.
Verlander became the first baseball player -- and the second athlete outside football -- to win the award. Golfing legend Arnold Palmer won the first Super Sage Award in 2003. Other past winners include
Penn and Teller, Pat Robertson, Dennis Farina, Joe Mantegna, and the defending champion, the San Diego Chicken.
In the process, Verlander added one more award to an offseason that has been full of them. He won the American League MVP and Cy Young Awards in November, honors he formally received at the annual Baseball Writers' Association of America dinner last month. He also won Players Choice and Sporting News honors on votes by his fellow players, and GIBBY honors as voted on by MLB.com's readers.
Even outside of sports, Verlander is getting recognition. WXYZ-TV in Detroit honored Verlander over the weekend as its Newsmaker of the Year for 2011.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.