also available at www.SethSpeaks.net –
Good morning all! We have nearly made it through this work week! All we have to do is get through the weekend and Opening Day will be upon us! That brings us our very own Bob the Builder opportunity. Can we make it?? I certainly hope we can!
This morning, I am very happy to present another Q&A with a member of the Twins organization. Glen Perkins was born in Minnesota, went to high school in Minnesota (Stillwater), went to the University of Minnesota, was drafted by and then signed with the Minnesota Twins, and since September of 2006, he has been able to call himself a big leaguer, a Minnesota Twin! Talk about living the dream! He enters 2009 in a position that he has not previously been in. First, he will be with the Twins for his very first Opening Day. Also, he came into spring training knowing that he has a role as a starter in the Twins pitching staff. In 2008 with the Twins, Perkins went 12-4 with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Looking at his career numbers, particularly his minor league track record, I fully believe that he will have a breakthrough season in 2009. In August, he won five games including shutouts against the Yankees and the Angels.
During the offseason, Perkins participated in the Twins Winter Caravan. While on his travels that week in January, he wrote a daily blog at MLBlogs.com called Twins Confidential. Apparently he enjoyed it so much that he has continued to blog at MLBlogs.com at his new site called Perk’s Place. His most recent blog posting discussed how busy he has been down in Ft. Myers! Because of that, I really want to thank him for taking the time to e-mail me and then offer to do a Q&A. Without further ado, or introduction, or whichever you prefer…
…Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: First things first – the 2009 season is upon us. What is it about Opening Day, for you, that makes it so special?
Glen Perkins: This is going to be my first Opening Day w/ the Twins, so I think it will be a little more special than the rest. I think it’s the promise of a new season, expectations, and the chance to prove people wrong.
SethSpeaks: You came into spring training this year with a different outlook than previous springs; you had a role on the team, a secure job in the starting rotation. Was spring any different for you this year?
Glen Perkins: This spring has been great and I think that my performance can attest to the position I am in. Every baseball player is a competitor and I could not ask for more than to be given the ball every fifth day with the chance to compete and get our team a win. There is more pressure on me this year than ever because they are entrusting me with 20% of our games and I think it has allowed me to be even more intense than I normally am.
SethSpeaks: Since the end of last season, what are some of the things that you have done to prepare for the 2009 season?
Glen Perkins: I ramped up my offseason workouts and also spent much time talking to people and also practicing throwing my slider. It is a pitch I started throwing midseason and I am committed to making that a reliable pitch for me.
SethSpeaks: As important, what do you do during the offseason to get away from baseball? Do you have hobbies, travel, or is all your time spent with your kids?
Glen Perkins: Having two daughters is busy, which I love, so playing with them does take most my time. My wife however allows me plenty of time to go hunting for both pheasant and deer. We went to Vegas again so that was fun. I won money, gave it to my wife, and she lost it. Vegas is always sweet.
SethSpeaks: Did you work on anything during spring to add to the pitches you throw? What pitches do you throw, and what would you call your out pitch?
Glen Perkins: I throw fastball, slider, and change up. I have really focused on improving my slider and I think Andy and myself are pretty excited about the progress I have made with it.
SethSpeaks: Looking to the 2009 season, many believe that the Twins will be fighting with three or even four teams for the AL Central title. In your mind, what are a couple of keys to the Twins success in 2009?
Glen Perkins: Get Mauer healthy, starters pitch deep in games, and our bullpen continues to rock and roll… Seriously, I think us playing as a team and playing to our strengths- things we have done well for a long time- and we will be just fine.
SethSpeaks: Alright, let’s step back a bit and talk a little about how you got to this point in your career. You grew up in Minnesota and played high school ball. Can you talk a little about your high school career, and did you play other positions when you didn’t pitch?
Glen Perkins: I’m still waiting for them to retire my number- just kidding. High school was fun. I think anyone who saw me bat against Suppan or Maddux last year could quite easily see that I did not bat in a very long time, including high school. I think I pitched 19 out of the 25 games my senior season.
SethSpeaks: Did you participate in other sports or extracurricular activities in high school?
Glen Perkins: Our intramural b-ball team the “Dukes of Hazzard” won the championship. I was Bo Duke… and also a huge geek.
SethSpeaks: Were you heavily recruited coming out of high school? Drafted?
Glen Perkins: Neither heavily recruited or drafted. Skinny little lefty w/ no change up doesn’t get you far in pro ball.
SethSpeaks: I’m assuming it was a pretty easy decision for you to go to the University of Minnesota. The Gophers always seem to be a contender in the Big 10 and have a lot of talent. Talk about some of those teams, and specifically talk about what has made coach John Anderson so successful?
Glen Perkins: We won all three years I was there. I thought we could have gotten a little farther in the CWS in 2004 but we ran into the buzzsaw of Jason Windsor/Ricky Romero and the Fullerton Titans.
SethSpeaks: You were the Big 10 Pitcher of the Year in 2004 and led the team to the Regional Tournament. By this time, it was pretty certain that you would be a late first round, supplemental round type of pick. When the Twins took you with their second of three first round picks, what was that like?
Glen Perkins: That was one of the best moments of my life, family and friends at my parents house and I got the phone call. My friends were looking for summer jobs and I told them “I think I just got hired”.
SethSpeaks: Was there any question in your mind that you would sign with the Twins since you could have gone back to the Gophers for your senior season? If so, what were some of the factors that made you decide to sign?
Glen Perkins: Being a first round pick by my hometown team was a no-brainer for me. But also knowing the history of the team and their ability to develop players made it impossibly easy.
SethSpeaks: You flew through the minor league system. Can you briefly talk about that experience and what you learn from each promotion and experience?
Glen Perkins: Each promotion is more expectations but I welcome those and thrive off them, plus the change of scenery was always nice. I don’t need anymore changes of scenery now, though.
SethSpeaks: In 2006, you received word that the Twins would be calling you up from Rochester. Talk about how you found out, how you reacted and who you told first?
Glen Perkins: Terry Ryan was in Toledo watching the International League Championship and told me after we lost. I called my wife, Alisha, but she didn’t answer- I called my parents next and they answered. The rest is a blur.
SethSpeaks: On September 21, 2006, at Fenway Park, you made your big league debut and got all four batters you faced out. What awas running through your mind when you came into the game for your debut?
Glen Perkins: I can’t really remember. I recall Stelly telling me to keep the ball down and throw strikes.
SethSpeaks: And then you struck out five White Sox batters in 3.2 innings in your Twins Dome debut. I imagine that was quite an experience as well to pitch in front of friends and family in a big league game, and in a pennant race.
Glen Perkins: That was cool, that was my first taste of the rivalry and I am glad I got off on the right foot.
SethSpeaks: You’re now an established big league pitcher, can you talk a little about some of the people who have helped you get to this point in your career?
Glen Perkins: Ricky Michel- My high school coach. He got me ready for D1 ball and always believed in me…he still does
Todd Oakes- Gopher pitching coach. Taught me the change up and the importance of using it. I wouldn’t be the pitcher I am without him. He got me ready for pro ball both physically and mentally. He along with Andy, are the two best teachers I know.
SethSpeaks: What is more difficult for a pitcher, the mental part of the game, or the physical drain of pitching?
Glen Perkins: Yogi Berra- 90% of the game is mental, the other half is physical.
That is the best way to sum it up. At the end of the season it is hard to decide if you are more mentally or physically drained. I think the tank is below “E” in both.
SethSpeaks: You’ve done both at the big league level. I’m curious your thoughts on the differences between starting and out of the bullpen. Everyone I’ve asked about that seems to have a different answer.
Glen Perkins: It’s the difference of knowing and not knowing and how you react to that. They are about as opposite as you can get. It was fun going to the field with a chance to pitch but I have really embraced putting all the chips in the basket every fifth day and seeing what I’ve got.
SethSpeaks: Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn and yourself… In my opinion, at various times throughout the 2008 season, an argument could have been made that any of the five of you were the team’s best pitcher. For me, that’s pretty exciting for Twins fans and for your team. Can you discuss the relationship between the five of you? Is there any friendly competition and pushing each other, or is that overblown?
Glen Perkins: I think we are the closest group of starters in the big leagues, hands down. We know how to have fun and we know how to flip that switch when it’s our turn. It’s probably overblown, we all focus on giving our team everything we’ve got each time out, and not so much on what the other guys did or are doing. We are always the first to congratulate each other on a good outing and also the first to pick each other up after a rough one.
SethSpeaks: Have you set any goals for yourself in 2009? Are there certain statistics that you look at more than others to determine how you’re doing?
Glen Perkins: My goal is to pitch innings with quality, give the team a chance to win. It doesn’t matter to me what my stats look like if we win when I pitch. They usually go hand in hand. I’ll worry about quality from inning to inning, the rest will take care of itself.
SethSpeaks: You are now a blogger. You started during the Winter Caravan and kept it going. What made you decide to keep it going? What are your thoughts on blogs in general, and do you sense that a lot of players read them?
Glen Perkins: I prefer bloggist, but that’s neither here nor there. I had fun on caravan with it so I figured I could make enough stuff up during the season to keep people entertained. Baseball players see some crazy stuff.
SethSpeaks: Favorite Baseball Movie?
Glen Perkins: Major League, no brainer
SethSpeaks: Favorite Baseball Book?
Glen Perkins: Moneyball, no brainer
SethSpeaks: Best part about a life in baseball?
Glen Perkins: Travel
SethSpeaks: Worst part about a life in baseball?
Glen Perkins: Travel
SethSpeaks: Are you looking forward to playing at Target Field next year (maybe not in April, and when you play there in October, it’ll be fine too!)
Glen Perkins: Target Field will be awesome. We all are excited. I am still campaigning to my teammates about the beauty of April baseball outside in Minnesota but I’m not getting very far.
SethSpeaks: Anything else that you think Twins fans should know about you?
Glen Perkins: My blog is all sarcasm- my best trait- and please don’t take anything I write on there seriously.
A huge thank you to Glen Perkins for taking the time to answer all of these questions. We certainly wish him the best of luck in 2009 (and beyond). Let me know what you think. Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments for me or Glen here. Who knows? Maybe Glen will even read them and reply??? Have a great weekend!