Glen Perkins has made the American League All-Star team in back-to-back seasons, but this year’s nod was a little sweeter.
Why? Because the Minnesota Twins reliever will get to play in front of his home crowd at Target Field on Tuesday.
“That’s the most important thing for me – staying home,” Perkins said on The MoJo Show. “I grew up here and to get a chance to play for the Twins – hopefully for my whole career – this is going to be a pretty special week. Being in my hometown and the field where I’ve played for the last four years, it’s something that I never could have believed a couple years back.”
Perkins, 31, has spent his entire career in Minnesota, but it hasn’t aways been smooth sailing. He was used sparingly as a reliever in 2006-07, made a combined 43 starts in 2008-09 – going 18-11 despite an ERA around 5.00 – and eventually transitioned back to the bullpen.
Wise move. Perkins has finished with a sub-2.60 ERA in each of the last three seasons and last year saved 36 games. This year, he has 22.
“Most guys have ups and downs in their careers,” Perkins said. “We can’t all be the Jeters and Griffeys and Trouts that (get to the majors and play) in the All-Star Game and (win) awards (right away). It’s awesome for them, but that’s not the typical story. But yeah, I had ups and downs. Failed starter, come back, get hurt – all those things. But it’s perseverance and hard work – and a lot of luck, to be honest with you – to be where I’m at today. I’m fortunate and very thankful for everything that I’ve had the opportunity to do. And this is at the top of the list, this week here.”
Perkins is from Stillwater, Minn., he went to high school in Minnesota, he attended the University of Minnesota and he signed for less money than he could have gotten elsewhere to play with the Twins.
In short, Perkins loves Minnesota.
“I guess we love to torture ourselves because I don’t mind the winters; I deal with those,” Perkins said. “But playing in front of the fans and the team I cheered for growing up – you don’t realize how lucky you are until you have other friends and guys that are on your team envy what you get to do. When we come home from a road trip, I get to sleep in my own bed. When I’m not on the road, I’m not in a hotel or an apartment or a rental house. (You can take) those things for granted, but other people say, ‘Man, you don’t know how lucky you are.’ You learn that. With family being here and all that, you want to stay.”
And he will. This past offseason, Perkins signed a four-year contract extension through the 2017 season that includes a club option for 2018. He will make roughly $22 million.
“For me, it was a no-brainer to try to sign a contract that was going to take me probably to the end of my career and give me a chance to play for one team – my hometown team – my whole career,” Perkins said. “It kind of made me a Twin for life. That’s what they wanted, that’s what I wanted and it all worked out. I don’t think anyone’s complaining.”