Smile Politely

Twins’ Breslow Spends Offseason Raising Money for Cancer Research

Craig Breslow had a fantastic year out of the Minnesota Twins bullpen, but he’s not taking any time off this winter to rest on his laurels. Breslow, who had a 1.63 ERA in 42 appearances for Minnesota, is spending a good chunk of his offseason building support for the Strike 3 Foundation.

“The Strike 3 Foundation is a charitable agency that heightens awareness, mobilizes support and raises funding for pediatric cancer research,” Breslow said. “It was started with a close friend and my family, with the impetus being my sister Lesley, a 15-year thyroid cancer survivor.” The Strike 3 Foundation just held a fundraising gala that featured renowned sportswriter Peter Gammons and Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma.

Breslow graduated from Yale with a degree in biochemistry. Since being drafted in 2002, he’s found a home with the Twins after spending time with the Brewers, Padres, Red Sox and Indians organizations. After the jump, he updates us on his charitable work, discusses his offseason training regimen and gives some tips on fine dining in the Twin Cities.

Smile Politely: How did The First Pitch Celebrity Gala go?

Craig Breslow: The First Pitch Celebrity Gala was a resounding success. We sold out the venue completely and even had a waiting list, and raised significant funds for pediatric cancer research.

SP: What has been the most difficult thing about getting the foundation off the ground?

CB: The most difficult part is likely the IRS compliancy. Incorporating the charity, gaining 501©3 status, bookkeeping, those sorts of things. The networking, making contact with businesses and individuals, planning, those are a bit more pleasant.

SP: How can our readers help support your foundation?

CB: Readers can visit to read more about the purpose and vision of the charity, as well as to read about upcoming events or to make donations.

SP: What’s your contract status at this point for 2009? I realize it’s a formality for a player with your service time, but have you been offered or signed a contract yet, officially?

CB: While my rights are exclusive to Minnesota for some time, I have not formally been offered a contract; this typically occurs later in the winter.

SP: Is this your first offseason on a team’s 40-man roster?

CB: This is the fourth offseason I’ve spent on a 40 man roster.

SP: You grew up between New York City and Boston, in Trumbull, Conn. Was your hometown clearly in one camp or another (Yankees, Mets, Sawx), and who did you root for growing up? Who was your favorite player?

CB: I grew up a Mets fan, as I come from a long line of Mets fans. I was six years old when the Mets won the World Series in ‘86, and Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry were favorites of mine.

SP: Were you drafted out of high school? What other schools did you consider attending besides Yale?

CB: I was not drafted out of high school. I like to tell myself the Yale commitment scared teams off!

SP: Have there been any significant differences to pitching for the Minnesota Twins organization compared to other organizations that you’ve been a part of?

CB: I have been fortunate to play on some very competitive teams in my short big league career, and all with successful pitching staffs. One thing that I found across the board is the importance of challenging hitters, getting ahead and throwing strikes.

SP: Did you rent an apartment in the Twin Cities or stay in a hotel during the season? You live in Connecticut full-time in the off-season, correct?

CB: I rented an apartment during the season and live in Connecticut full time, yes.

SP: What is your off-season workout regimen like? Do you work out by yourself or with others?

CB: I usually do my weight training myself and do extensive core/plyometric work with a trainer. I really value the offseason in terms of getting myself conditioned and prepared for the season.

SP: Have you kept in contact with many of your Twins teammates since the season ended? I’m not aware of anyone other than Joe Nathan who’s from the Northeast; are there others? How about other players that you’ve met from other organizations? Are you close friends with any of them?

CB: I have made some great friends during my stints with several organizations and still keep in touch with many of them. I have found that the Twins, in particular, are full of guys with similar interests.

SP: What do you like to do in your spare time?

CB: I enjoy reading, though lately the charity has monopolized a bulk of my spare time.

SP: What do you think the biggest misconception is about Yale, or people who attended college there?

CB: I think there is a stereotype that Yale students are socially awkward, geeks, geniuses, and while there may be some of those, I like to think of myself as a pretty well-rounded, malleable individual.

SP: You’ve been through a lot of transactions in your professional career, as have a lot of pro players. Were you represented by an agent throughout, or how did you go about getting opportunities with new clubs? Were you usually contacted by the club, or did you have to get out there and “sell yourself”?

CB: I do have an agent, Bob Baratta, who has represented me throughout my professional career.

SP: Did you pitch out of the bullpen in college at all? Which do you prefer, starting or relieving?

CB: I spent some time pitching out of the bullpen in college while recovering from a bout with mono, but I had been a starter predominantly.

SP: Have you made significant mechanical adjustments to your delivery during your pro career? Who has been the most helpful to you in working with your mechanics?

CB: I don’t believe that I’ve made any significant changes to my delivery; rather, I’ve tried to make some minor adjustments to become more consistent. I think I have been helped by some of the other pitchers with whom I’ve shared time in the bullpen … guys like Trevor Hoffman, Mike Timlin, Joe Nathan.

SP: Are you interested in sabermetrics, or do you try to use any statistical analysis to your advantage?

CB: I find math and statistics very interesting, but only from the standpoint of comparative analysis as a fan. I have an analytical mind, but have a tendency to get too bogged down.

SP: Do you still hope to attend medical school when your playing career ends?

CB: It is something that I still feel strongly about. I may change my mind if I have a successful 10-year career, but right now that is the plan.

SP: Did you get to choose your uniform number (49) when you came over to the Twins? Is there any significance to it?

CB: I was given it — had no choice as a player with less than a year’s service time!

SP: What’s your favorite place to go out to eat in the Twin Cities?

CB: There are a number of good restaurants, but Stella’s Fish Cafe is probably my favorite.

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