I recently had the opportunity to chat with Twins All-Star Glen Perkins and his wife, Alisha, about their upcoming Fifteen’s 5K, benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. They also shared their favorite family activities, what goes through Glen’s mind when he’s in a jam on the mound, and which team’s All-Stars have the most fun. Below are excerpts from our interview.
Congratulations on your 2nd All-Star appearance. I’m sure playing in the game itself is thrilling. Are there things that happen outside of the actual game that surprise or delight you?
Glen: The reaction and excitement I received from the fans is probably the most memorable thing, away from the game, that happened during All-Star week.
Are there any All-Stars that you formed a connection with this year?
GP: There were a few guys that were on this team as well as the team from last year. Greg Holland and Alex Gordon are two guys that I spent a lot of time with, and I also see them a lot throughout the year as well. The group of guys from the Athletics was also a fun bunch to hang with.
How did you get connected with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation?
Alisha: Basically, we’ve just seen what our friends go through every day with their little ones with Cystic Fibrosis. They’re so incredibly close to a cure, and we just wanted to do anything we could to help get even closer. When we decided to do the race, we partnered up and it’s been an amazing partnership.
A 5K with the finish line on Target Field is an attractive event for families. How was this idea developed?
AP: It’s kind of funny because the first year we didn’t finish on Target Field. That came about after our recap. I think Twin Cities In Motion [the event organizer] and I were like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could finish on the field?” So we met with the front office people for the Twins and begged, borrowed and pleaded, and the grounds crew was nice enough to let us do that. It is such a unique opportunity for the racers because, when else do you actually get to go down on the field? It makes the experience a lot more fun for the runners.
Glen, you made your big-league debut in 2006 but spent time in Rochester in 2008 and 2010. What goes through your mind when you’re sent back to AAA? How do you handle setbacks like that?
GP: You've got to keep battling! Baseball careers don't always take the trajectory that you'd hope so it's important to keep working hard and stay in the moment.
I took my sons to the game against the White Sox on Sunday. You came in for the save in the 9th inning with a one-run lead. Eventually the bases were loaded with only one out. What do you say to yourself when you’re on the mound in a situation like this? How do you handle the pressure? How do you move on when it doesn’t end in a victory?
GP: I remind myself that I'm only one good pitch away from getting out of a jam. You can't really let the pressure get to you or it makes it even more difficult to do my job. A deep breath and then focusing on the next pitch helps me. Win or lose, its important to move on and focus on the next game. Baseball is a long season so it helps to go day by day and enjoy them whether you do well or not.
Who are your best buddies on the Twins?
GP: I probably spend the most time with Phil Hughes and Brian Duensing, both at and away from the field.
What advice would you give to aspiring ball players?
GP: Work hard and practice, practice, practice!
Alisha, with Glen on the road so much of the time, how do you balance taking care of your daughters and taking care of yourself?
AP: It’s a struggle, obviously anybody knows that whose husband travels a lot or who is a single parent. I hate to use that analogy but it feels like it a lot during the baseball season. But from the very beginning we said it was important to us that the kids had some semblance of a normal life, and that Glen’s job doesn’t determine the lifestyle. So I’ve tried my hardest to keep the kids in a very normal routine. I don’t go to a lot of games because of that. It’s something that Glen and I strive for. My family’s really helpful so I do get some time to run or get out. We’re very blessed to be doing what we do, and it doesn’t last that long, so we’ll keep doing it while we can and figure it out along the way.
What activities do you enjoy as a family? Do you have any hidden gems that you’d be willing to share with us?
AP: Really we just like to be home. We spend a lot of time at our house paddle boarding with the kids. Our opportunities to be a family are very few and far between in the summer, so we just kind of lay low when we can.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about Fifteen’s 5K?
AP: The most fun part about the event is that it’s really family friendly. You can bring your kids out, it’s really easily accessible, and it’s not too expensive. Our event is unique in that aspect, that just about anybody can come out and do it and bring the kids. Also, Glen brings out a lot of the players to hand out medals at the end. So stick around and they’ll take pictures and sign autographs. It’s really a good time. You get really unique access to the players and the field, and raise some money for a good cause!
The starter’s gun for Fifteen’s 5K sounds at 8 am on Sunday, August 17. If you sign up for the race before August 4th you receive a free game ticket with your registration, so sign up this weekend!