Born and raised just outside of the Twin Cities, left-hander Glen Perkins of the Minnesota Twins also attended college at Minnesota before being taken in the first round of the 2004 draft by his home-town team. Success at the major league level didn't come quickly; Perkins had a 4.81 ERA over his first 303 innings. Only when the Twins converted him to relief, in 2011, did Perkins begin to thrive.
How is he going to maintain success? By staying humble, staying at one with nature as a fisherman and hunter, staying up on the latest advanced statistics and by running as little as possible. Perkins, who engages fans like few other pro athletes on Twitter, delved into his personal philosophies during a recent Answer Man session inside of the visitor's clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
David Brown: You tweeted Monday night you were watching the national (men’s basketball) championship game with Eddie Vedder. What?
Glen Perkins: Haha. Yeah, he was in town (in Kansas City) and we had met him last year in Seattle. He was in town to see a friend and we (some of the Twins players) had rented a room just to watch the game and he came by and hung out.
DB: What did you talk about?
GP: Really, everything but. We drew parallels about traveling, and what we do — being nervous in front of crowds. He’s a huge sports fan and a basketball fan. We ended up talking a lot about the game.
DB: You also appear to have an online relationship with Dwight Yoakam. Confirm or deny:
GP: Oh, yeah. It’s funny that I tweeted when Robinson Cano switched to Jay-Z [as his agent]. Dwight Yoakam, I’ve listened to him my entire life. His image is about a 180 from Jay-Z, so I tweeted that maybe I should switch my agent to Yoakam. And the next day, I check my phone and he had responded. He’s like, if you move to Los Angeles and play for the Dodgers, maybe we can work this out. So we’ve been going back and forth since. He actually played a concert in Minneapolis a week after we left spring training, which was disappointing because I wanted to go. It would have been fun.
DB: Should he act more?
GP: Yes, no question about it. I know he’s done a few things, but him in “Wedding Crashers” is one of the funniest scenes I’ve ever seen.
DB: Let’s say your fondest wish comes true and the Twins buy a bullpen car. What would you want it to look like?
GP: Haha. Well, it would have to be one of our sponsors. So you’d have to check with Arctic Cat or Polaris. One of their side-by-sides. Something for off-road. More than a golf cart.
DB: Don’t you and your wife sponsor a 5K run for cystic fibrosis?
DB: And you’re a professional athlete.
DB: What’s wrong with running from the bullpen?
GP: Hahaha. She’s a runner. That was her idea. My idea is to run less. She’s running a marathon here in a month. She’s all about running; I’m all about not running. But the 5K is a good way for us to raise money. It’s a cause that’s close to us. It gives her an outlet and I can only be a limited participant in terms of running it, so it’s a good setup. And it was a helluva lot of fun. We had a great time with it last year, I think it’s one of the better events the Twins have.
DB: Getting back to the bullpen car, are you old enough to remember when relievers actually used cars to come into games?
GP: You know, I want to say I am — but it’s probably just from watching ESPN Classic or old videos. I feel like I do, but if I don’t, it probably wasn’t long before I started watching that they used ‘em. It was a thing in the ‘80s. But I do have an idea of what they looked like and the whole thing they had with them.
DB: What’s the longest bullpen walk in the major leagues?
GP: Probably ours. We’re close. I haven’t pitched out of the bullpen at Coors, but that’s a long walk. I’ll bet that one at Petco is long, now that they’ve moved the bullpen and the fences. Ours is out there. We’re like 407, 408 (feet).
DB: Do you get a sense the Twins will ever go for it?
GP: I don’t know, and our president, Dave St. Peter, is active on Twitter as well, so I don’t know if he’s joking or not. I think it would be fun, a cool promotion. It’s not something that is going to catch back on. It would be fun, maybe one time, if you get a sponsor and make something out of it.
DB: Would you want to drive yourself?
DB: You need a chauffeur.
GP: I think that’s the point. You’re doing nothing.
DB: It would be funny to drive in and just leave it running.
GP: Haha. That’s the other thing! What to do with it once you’re in the game?
DB: Your manager, Gardy, driving it back?
DB: How much personal courage did it take to out yourself as a sabermatrician stat head?
GP: Not much, because if you at least know what you’re talking about, you can at least hold your own, I guess. For me, it was just logical. It’s like anything else: If it’s something you believe in, something that makes sense to you — then that’s you’re belief, whatever it might be. Most of it makes sense. Most of it’s smart. Most of it is, I think, legit. When I started reading about it all, I said, “Well this makes sense to me.”
DB: So it was the logic that first appealed to you.
GP: I was a math guy in college. I’ve always liked math, so it’s got a lot to do with that, too. To me, you read it and it adds up...
DB: Do you agree that BABIP (batting average on balls in play) might be misleading?
GP: In what way?
DB: I just read a Baseball Prospectus post on BABIP by Russell Carleton that says we haven’t been fully understanding what the data tells us — for example, not taking into account that pitchers have a degree of control on how hard a ball is hit.
GP: Yeah, I get that. There are certain things… I think the way you have to look at it is, it’s taking the fielders out of it. We just played the Rays, and they’re a team that uses a defensive shift. And that’s going to suppress a guy’s [batting] average on balls in play. You have to look at it more simply, as something that takes fielders out of the equation. So I get where it could be misleading, because some teams shift and some don’t.
DB: Does your postseason appearance (in 2006) seem like ages ago?
GP: Yes. What did I make that year? Like, three appearances? Four? I pitched against the Red Sox, the Orioles [twice] and I pitched against the White Sox. So my fifth career appearance was in the playoffs. I’ve been around a long time [laughs]. It does seem like a long time ago.
GP: It really hit by facing Frank Thomas. Growing up in the ‘90s, him and Griffey were the guys. And I’m out there, I’ve got two weeks in the big leagues and I’m facing Frank Thomas in the playoffs. There were some nerves there. He hit a double.
DB: One of the first pictures that comes up after doing an internet search of you, is of you holding a shark. What is the story?
GP: We do shark fishing in Ft. Myers during spring training, just off the shore. I don’t know how it got on the Internet to be honest. But it is.
DB: So that wasn’t an accident, catching a shark?
GP: Oh, no. Steve Liddle, our old bench coach, and some of the guys were into shark fishing, and I started tagging along. We’ve gotten some good ones. It’s something to do in spring training; we’ve got a lot of down time. We just throw them right back. It’s not the kind of thing you’d keep.
DB: It wasn’t a great white, but was it scary at all?
GP: When they get bigger — that one wasn’t very big, probably a 3, 3 1/2 footer — but we’ve gotten 6-footers. They’re big. Even those are so strong. They’re fun to catch. You’ve just got to be careful.
DB: Whose idea was it to have the autographed Glen Perkins fishing lure?
GP: That’s a Twins promotion. I think they’ve done a fishing lure for a long time, for a few years. Last year it was Matt Capps they put on there, this year it was me. I don’t know if I’ll ever use one, but I put one in my tackle box.
DB: You and Josh Willingham went fishing in spring training and you took a lot of credit for him catching an attractive fish.
GP: I brought him there, and probably did everything but put the bait on his hook.
DB: He’s from Alabama, though. Doesn’t he know how to fish already?
GP: He just never snook-fished. I had learned some good spots down there to find them. They’re like a large-mouth [bass] on steroids. Crazy fight in them. They're fast, and big jumpers.
GP: Crappie? (pronounced "croppy") I’ll fish for 'em. They’re good eating.
DB: Does deer antler spray help you more as a pitcher or a hunter?
GP: My key to deer hunting is peeing by my stand. I don't mess with the antler.
DB: You pee by the deer stand? I thought doe pee was the big draw?
GP: I pee by the deer stand usually because I can't hold it.
DB: Let’s say we’re going out for dinner to your family’s restaurant, Perkins. What on the menu should we avoid?
GP: The only thing to eat there is the Tremendous Twelve with a warm blueberry muffin and butter. Avoid everything else.
DB: Do people who spell Glen with two N’s not even have the same name as people who spell it with one?
GP: It's not the same name. Just like you can't trust a man with two first names (Joe Nathan, e.g.), you can't trust a Glen with two N's.
DB: How did you know 12 years ago to get your picture taken with Joe Mauer at a regional All-Star game when you guys were 18?
GP: He was just as good then as he is now. I wasn't the only guy that got a picture with him that day. We actually were roommates for that tournament as well.
DB: You grew up like 30 miles from the Metrodome, you went to college in Minneapolis with the Gophers and now you pitch for your hometown team. How likely is this story?
GP: I guess you would have to ask Mauer the same question. It is pretty damn cool though.
DB: Did you want to grow up to be Eddie Guardado?
GP: I always liked Eddie. Knowing him now, I think we have a lot in common. Funny side note is, I was actually drafted by the Twins with the pick they got for losing him as a free agent. We will always be connected.
DB: Do you think major league managers are prejudiced against left-handed people being the closer?
GP: A lot of them think lefties can't get righties out, so, yeah.
DB: If you were a manager, would you be?
GP: Not if they could get righties out.
DB: Does Jim Thome's blue ox's poop come out blue?
GP: That ox looked ridiculous up close with the blue spray paint. I guess its sh*t would be blue with the right amount of paint.
DB: Can you feel it when you enter the game and Bert Blyleven circles you? Does the stain come out of the uniform if he gets some on you?
GP: It itches. The clubbies hate trying to get that yellow marker out of our jerseys.
DB: Shouldn’t some Targets be open 24 hours?
GP: Some?! They all should.
DB: What’s it like to have Dairy Queen wish you good luck?
GP: Funny thing was that they didn't take the two seconds to check my profile to see what people were wishing me good luck for, because it was opening day. Dairy Queen was completely oblivious. That was pretty funny, though
DB: How are you personally coping without Denard Span? I don’t think I’d be doing too well.
GP: This is the first year since 2004 that we won't be teammates. It's weird. I unfollowed him on Twitter — I guess that's my coping mechanism.
DB: I noticed that your wife refers to you as “Hubs.” My wife does that on Facebook. Should we tell them to stop, or keep it to ourselves?
GP: I have threatened to block her numerous times on Twitter. She's running out of strikes.
GP: No. Slowey is one of my closest friends. Correia is one of the funniest, quirkiest people I have met. They do have that in common.
DB: If the Twins bring back the bullpen car, can they also bring back the giant milk gallon that was inside the Metrodome?
GP: It was a half-gallon and that thing was terrible.
[Editor's note: That ain't no half-gallon, Perkins. And it was awesome]
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Previous Answer Men (and Woman):
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2009 • Shane Victorino • Carlos Pena • Jay Bruce • Joe Nathan • Joe Maddon • Joakim Soria •Joey Votto • Tom Glavine • Adrian and Edgar Gonzalez • Chris Volstad • Paul Konerko • Edwin Jackson •Mark DeRosa • Tim Lincecum • Dave Righetti • Pedro Martinez • Denard Span • Cal Ripken
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2008 • Hunter Pence • Justin Morneau • David Wright • Erin Andrews • Andy Van Slyke • Derek Jeter• Bob Uecker • Bert Blyleven • Torii Hunter • Joba Chamberlain • Larry Bowa • Zack Greinke • Kerry Wood • Huston Street • Josh Hamilton • Milton Bradley • CC Sabathia • Mike Mussina • Jason Bay •Cole Hamels • Ron Santo • Francisco Rodriguez • Ryan Dempster • Evan Longoria
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