But instead of stepping into a batter’s box, the self-proclaimed “idiot” will be stepping into the NESN studio.
One of the most vocal players to ever don a Red Sox uniform, Millar was a fan favorite in his three seasons in Boston (2003-05). In addition to belting 52 home runs and driving in 220 runs with the Sox, he was instrumental in rallying the clubhouse, most notably with his 2003 rallying cry, “Cowboy Up.” The next season, Millar helped the Red Sox win their first World Series in 86 years, officially cementing himself in the team’s history.
But does Millar have some more magic in him that can help catapult this year’s Red Sox team to the top of the AL East? Sure, he may only be in the NESN studio serving as an analyst for select games, but this is a guy who always seems to make his presence felt, and this year should be no different.
Here’s a look at what Millar brings to the Boston Red Sox as he triumphantly returns to town:
Who can’t use a little humor in their lives? With Millar around, you don’t really have a choice.
Like or not, if you’re in the Red Sox organization, you’re going to witness plenty of pranks and may end up on the receiving end. Just ask manager Terry Francona. Millar told Toucher and Rich during their radio show on 98.5 The Sports Hub on April 29 that he pulled quite the prank on his former skipper a few years back. After a monumental win, Francona had the pleasure of finding a bag of dog droppings in his locker. Quite the treat.
While Millar may not go that far in his new role as NESN analyst, you can bet he still has some old tricks up his sleeve. And you know what? This team could use it. After David Ortiz’s April tirade and Mike Lowell’s recent public frustration with his current role, there’s a need for entertainment and stress relief in the Red Sox clubhouse.
Enter the goofball himself.
Baseball is a numbers game. It’s about matchups and percentages, all of which can be mind-boggling. However, if any player exemplified someone who focused on the non-quantitative aspect of the game, it’s Kevin Millar.
Sure, he may have worked and studied like any successful major leaguer, but his performance was often unexplainable — so much so that his 2004 success was at one point attributed to his new-found baldness.
However unexplainable his free-swinging success may have been, though, you always got production. There’s no reason to expect anything less in his new role.
With Millar around, this year’s Red Sox team can take a step back, learn to let everything fall into place and maybe even throw back a few shots of Jack Daniels and get trimmed up along the way.
AL East Expertise
Millar played for the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays after leaving Boston, and had the most career at-bats against the five AL East teams.
Though Millar never played for the Yankees or Rays — the two teams the Red Sox currently are having the most problems with — he did play against those two teams more than any others.
If anyone can break down the division and provide some valuable information, it’s got to be Millar.
Can you say insider information?
Millar never was a superstar. But he’s a baseball player, and this should bode well for the NESN audience and perhaps the Red Sox in turn.
Don’t expect anything sugarcoated from the former first baseman. If you don’t perform on the field, he’ll let you know, just the way he made known his disappointment with the new Yankee Stadium last July.
This passion and matter-of-factness should provide a spark for the recently hot, yet underachieving, Red Sox.
If nothing else, we at least know that Millar will help save the day if the idea of a new Fenway Park ever gets tossed around again.
The ‘It Factor’
It’s something that you can’t really put your finger on, but you know Millar’s going to bring it. It sort of goes hand in hand with his simple approach.
While Millar may not have been exactly spot on with his comparison of himself to Tom Brady in 2005, his logic wasn’t totally outlandish.
“I may not hit a home run the rest of this year, and we might win the World Series. And I’m a part of this team,” he told The Boston Globe in August 2005. “Somehow, somewhere, I bring something.”
Millar did homer again that season, and the Red Sox didn’t win the World Series. But Millar was right. He did bring something, just as he did in his previous two seasons. You can’t exactly put your finger on it, but it’s there, and it’s something that this year’s team lacks.
So welcome aboard, Kevin.