It’s Millar time! We were a nation of “idiots” in the fall of 2004, and we couldn’t have been happier! Our commander-in-chief was Kevin Millar, outspoken and resolute first baseman. Together—Red Sox team, Millar, and fans—we were the sorcerers who finally dispelled the 86-year-old “Curse of the Bambino.” A season of magic! A season of redemption! Raised in LA and after a baseball scholarship at Lamar University in Beaumont, TX, Millar played 12 years in the Major Leagues—1998-2009—with the Marlins, Sox, Orioles, and Blue Jays.
His three years in Boston, 2003-05, were marked by both excellent offensive production (.276; .297; .272) and excellent rapport with the media. Millar said, “I loved Boston, I loved the fans, and I loved the excitement. Those were the three best years of my career.” When his career ended, Millar traded in his bat for a microphone and became a part of the media that he had always entertained as a player. He joined the newly formed MLB Network, first as a game analyst and now as the co-host with Chris Rose on the popular “Intentional Talk” weekdays from 5-6 pm. Millar also traded in the competition on the diamond for the competition on the golf course, and he has become a self-proclaimed “golf groupie.” His home is now in Austin, TX, where he lives with Jeana, his wife of 11 years, and their alliteratively named three sons and baby daughter—twins Kylie and Kashten, six; Kanyon, four; and Karis. Cowboy up!
NEGM: A golf groupie?
KM: Yes! Golf is my new passion. I enjoy the game as much as facing Roger Clemens in Yankee Stadium! I used to play with my dad when I was 13 or so and have always loved golf. I just never had much time to play during my career. Now I have joined the University of Texas Golf Club in Austin and play in celebrity and charity events whenever I can. I always play in the annual Children’s Miracle Network tournament. I’ve never had a lesson, but I’ve got my handicap down to eight.
NEGM: Who would be your Dream Foursome?
KM: Charles Barkley, Rickie Fowler, and Tiger Woods.
NEGM: Who is the most memorable person from your life in baseball?
KM: My uncle, Wayne Nordhagen, who played in the Majors from 1976-1983, mainly for the White Sox. I looked up to him big time, and I wanted to be just like him.
NEGM: Do you still keep in touch with any former Red Sox teammates?
KM: Yes, but mainly through text messaging. I don’t get to see guys like David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, and Tim Wakefield nearly enough.
NEGM: Explain the transition from player to analyst and now to talk show host.
KM: Difficult but very rewarding. The MLB Network has given me a great opportunity because baseball is really the only thing that I know. I’ve had to learn on the spot. The toughest part—and the best part—has been conducting interviews, but I’ve become pretty good at it. Luckily, I understood how to respond to the media during my playing days. Now I’m on the other side of the fence, but I’m still in the game!
NEGM: Share a couple of the more interesting moments you’ve had on “Intentional Talk.”
KM: Nothing is sacred! Everyone and everything are our subjects. Lots of fun. I had 6’ 5” Florida Marlins slugger Mike Stanton singing like Rihanna at one point in our interview. Priceless. I also caught a shirtless Terry Francona on our “ballpark cam” after a game in Yankee stadium doing sit-ups by the dugout. Chris and I keep ourselves amused and hope we are doing the same for our audience.
NEGM: Explain your famous quote, “Cowboy up!” in 2003.
KM: I made it in response to some of the Sox writers’ and the public’s pessimism about the team’s performance, based upon the club’s past history. I’m an optimistic guy by nature. So, the “Cowboy up!” was basically saying to everyone that we all needed to get back on our horses and into the present and do our jobs. The team did, although we lost that heart-breaking seventh game to the Yankees in the ALCS.
NEGM: New England fans will never forget their champion “idiots” of 2004. How did that one come about?
KM: Johnny Damon actually said, “We’re all idiots,” because nothing could break the indomitable team strength of mind we had that year. We just refused to give up or believe that we couldn’t win it all. He was right: we were a team of “idiots,” and we did win it all.
NEGM: What memories will you take to the grave about that World Series?
KM: What I’ll remember most is how we—with so many widely divergent personalities—developed into a real family, with just incredible chemistry. I’ll remember the camaraderie in the dugout, the intensity on the field, and the never-say-die spirit. I’ll remember the four straight from the Yankees and the four straight from the Cardinals. I’ll remember how we changed the soul of Red Sox Nation and of Boston forever.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?