All-Star preview: Odds are, Twins’ Perkins will make memories
Glen Perkins knows numbers. He knows how his numbers compare to last season and the season before that.
He’s a mathematician in a place where few reside: a baseball clubhouse.
But the odds that Perkins would be selected in back-to-back All-Star Games, representing the team he grew up watching, with the second game in his home state? Good luck calculating that.
“I know how often the ball should be a hit if it’s put in play,” the Minnesota Twins closer said Monday. “I don’t know what the odds of me being here right now are. They’re worse than if you put the ball in play, let’s put it that way.”
This is where Perkins is, though, prepping for his second All-Star Game.
Last year, as a first-time selection, he didn’t appear in the game. He warmed up in the bullpen in the ninth inning with Mariano Rivera, but the spotlight was on the New York Yankees reliever in his final season.
This time, there’s a good chance fans at Target Field tonight will see Perkins make his jog from the bullpen, possibly even in his usual role as closer.
“Yeah, I mean, that would be the most exciting thing,” said Perkins, who joins catcher Kurt Suzuki as the lone Twins on the American League roster. “But I just want a chance to pitch. If I have to get one out in the fifth inning, that would be fine with me, too. It doesn’t really matter. I just want to get out there and be out there and get a chance to pitch in front of the home crowd.”
Growing up in Minnesota, it was hard for Perkins to gauge how he compared with other players. Sure, he could throw a baseball hard. And sure, he could get hitters in Minnesota out.
“But there’s not a whole lot of high school kids in Minnesota that really get a chance to move through the ranks,” Perkins said.
Because of that, he rarely thought about events like this week, about playing in the All-Star Game. He played because he loved the game and because nobody told him he had to stop.
“The way I see it is no one really told me that I was done,” Perkins said. “I’ve never been told that I wasn’t good enough, and I’ve never been told that I was done. Until that happens, I’ll probably be playing.”
Perkins’ desire to make his second All-Star appearance was no secret this season.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who is helping manage the AL squad, saw the stress weighing on Perkins. As soon as Gardenhire knew Perkins was selected to the team, he called him into his office and shared the news.
“I knew where he was at and how tense he was,” Gardenhire said. “I just wanted to relieve the pressure a little bit and let him go about his business. When I called him in, he was definitely really excited and took a deep breath. We knew how much it was weighing on his mind.”
Perkins has reserved a suite at Target Field for 30 of his closest friends. He hopes they do what he plans to — soak it in.
During his first All-Star Game, Perkins said, he absorbed everything he could. But with the game in Minnesota, he can’t help but envision what pitching in the game would be like.
“I’ve thought about it a lot,” he said. “It’ll be a feeling that’s really hard to describe. It’s something that I don’t even really know. Probably along the lines of my major-league debut at Fenway Park.
“You always want to pitch in an All-Star Game or be in an All-Star Game, but you never think the timing will work out where you get to be at your home stadium and represent your home team, the team that I grew up cheering for at our field. It’s really something that I never thought was possible.”
That’s why he never bothered calculating the odds.
All-Star Game Rosters
C: Salvador Perez, Royals; 1B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers; 2B: Robinson Cano, Mariners; SS: Derek Jeter, Yankees; 3B: Josh Donaldson, A’s; OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays; OF: Mike Trout, Angels; OF: Adam Jones, Orioles; DH: Nelson Cruz, Orioles.
Dellin Betances, Yankees; Mark Buehrle, Blue Jays; Yu Darvish, Rangers; Sean Doolittle, A’s; Felix Hernandez, Mariners; Greg Holland, Royals; Scott Kazmir, A’s; Jon Lester, Red Sox; Glen Perkins, Twins; David Price, Rays; Fernando Rodney, Mariners; Chris Sale, White Sox; Max Scherzer, Tigers; Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees; Koji Uehara, Red Sox.
C: Derek Norris, A’s; C: Matt Wieters, Orioles; C: Kurt Suzuki, Twins; 1B: Jose Abreu, White Sox; 1B: Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays; 1B: Brandon Moss, A’s; 2B: Jose Altuve, Astros; 2B: Ian Kinsler, Tigers; 3B: Kyle Seager, Mariners; 3B: Adrian Beltre, Rangers; SS: Erick Aybar, Angels; SS: Alexei Ramirez, White Sox; OF: Michael Brantley, Indians; OF: Yoenis Cespedes, A’s; OF: Alex Gordon, Royals; DH: Victor Martinez, Tigers.
C: Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers; 1B: Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks; 2B: Chase Utley, Phillies; SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies; 3B: Aramis Ramirez, Brewers; OF: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates; OF: Carlos Gomez, Brewers; OF: Yasiel Puig, Dodgers.
Henderson Alvarez, Marlins; Madison Bumgarner, Giants; Aroldis Chapman, Reds; Tyler Clippard, Nationals; Johnny Cueto, Reds; Zack Greinke, Dodgers; Tim Hudson, Giants; Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers; Craig Kimbrel, Braves; Pat Neshek, Cardinals; Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers; Tyson Ross, Padres; Jeff Samardzija, Cubs/A’s; Alfredo Simon, Reds; Huston Street, Padres; Julio Teheran, Braves; Adam Wainwright, Cardinals; Tony Watson, Pirates; Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals.
C: Yadier Molina, Cardinals; C: Miguel Montero, D-backs; C: Devin Mesoraco, Reds; 1B: Freddie Freeman, Braves; 1B: Anthony Rizzo, Cubs; 2B: Dee Gordon, Dodgers; 2B: Daniel Murphy, Mets; SS: Starlin Castro, Cubs; 3B: Matt Carpenter, Cardinals; 3B: Todd Frazier, Reds; OF: Charlie Blackmon, Rockies; OF: Josh Harrison, Pirates; OF: Hunter Pence, Giants; OF: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins.