At UNRIVALED, we introduce sports fans to the pro athletes they haven’t heard enough about. You’ll hear from rising and overshadowed athletes who share their journey to becoming pros and their unique passions outside of their sport.
This Inside the Jersey features Alec Mills, a starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. Alec made history when he threw a no-hitter last season. He also persevered through 8 years in the Minors, Tommy John surgery and more to become a starter for the Cubs. Off the field, giving back is important to him, especially as a new dad. Have you heard his story?
Check out the Q&A with Alec and don’t forget to listen to the podcast:
UNRIVALED: What’s a movie that you’ll never get tired of watching?
Alec Mills: Christmas Vacation is one of my favorite movies of all time. I think anytime it’s on TV, I’ll sit and watch it for sure.
UNRIVALED: What’s the movie role that you wish you could be cast as?
Alec Mills: Probably some sort of role in a comedy or something like that. I usually lean towards the comedy movies. I’d like to think I’m funny – maybe not, but we’ll see.
UNRIVALED: What’s a vacation spot you cannot wait to revisit?
Alec Mills: We went to Jamaica for our honeymoon and we’re already tentatively planning on going back again. So, I can’t wait. It was beautiful and the weather was incredible and obviously no worries down there. That’s somewhere we’re looking to get back to.
UNRIVALED: What is your home cooked meal request that you make the most often?
Alec Mills: I think probably a beef and broccoli recipe that my wife makes; it’s kinda Cajun inspired somewhat. After the season, that’s probably one of the first things that I request when we get home and back in our kitchen and cooking.
UNRIVALED: What is your favorite thing to do when you get a little bit of downtime?
Alec Mills: I really enjoy golfing. I don’t really get to do a whole lot of it cause our off-season is more in the winter months, but that’s alright. And obviously now that I just had a little baby boy, I’m usually laying on the floor playing with toys with him, just trying to soak up as much as I can.
UNRIVALED: What is your most recent splurge?
Alec Mills: I actually just bought a Blackstone grill. It’s a big flat iron griddle, basically on a grill. I just got one of those and I love it.
UNRIVALED: What ritual or routine do you have before every game?
Alec Mills: I’m really not too superstitious. So, I think routine is the best word to use for me. Just getting in the hot tub before the game, getting warmed up and then stretching the lower body, back, shoulder, and arm is really just key for me. I try to keep every day the same; it’s just about remaining even keel.
UNRIVALED: Do you have a go-to song or artists to help you get ready for a game?
Alec Mills: I actually really don’t listen to a whole lot of music. I just walk around and talk with people. For me, the 2.5 hours that you’re on the mound blocking everything out. So, to do that for another three, four hours before the game just seems like a lot for me, really not something I like to do.
UNRIVALED: Which team did you grow up cheering for?
Alec Mills: It’s kind of surreal. I actually grew up a Cubs fan. My grandfather was a Cubs fan, so obviously my dad become a fan and my mom grew up in the Chicago area a Cubs fan. And then, by family tree, I became a Cubs fan. We lived in Tennessee for pretty much my whole life so it wasn’t as easy to get to Chicago and watch games, but we made it up quite a bit still. Now playing for the Cubs has been really surreal and pitching at Wrigley Field has been pretty special.
UNRIVALED: Which coach or teachers still calls, emails or texts you on a regular basis just to stay in touch?
Alec Mills: My high school coach will text quite a bit. I know he thinks he’s bothering me but he isn’t. Other than that, my scout actually keeps up with me quite a bit. He texts me probably after every outing. That means a lot to have him in my corner. He was one of the few in my corner to start out, so it’s been pretty special to keep that relationship going with him.
UNRIVALED: If you weren’t a professional athlete, what career field would we find you in?
Alec Mills: I went to college originally to be an engineer, but I don’t know if I should say that’s probably what would be, because when I got into calculus three and classes like that, it got tough. I think I got a 12% on one of my tests and I went up to the teacher and I was like, I might drop this class. He said maybe that’s a good idea if I actually tried on the test and actually got a 12%. So, I don’t know if I was going to be able to finish that degree. I’ve always enjoyed building things and figuring out how things work.
UNRIVALED: What’s a product that you would never forget to pack on a road trip?
Alec Mills: I always try to make sure I have my iPad with me because I’m in the hotel quite a bit of the day and I need some sort of entertainment when I’m lying around in the room.