Kevin Millar on WEEI with Dennis & Callahan
GC: I thought it was a bit much when Theo carried
you in on his shoulders this morning.
KM: I didn't think you saw that :-)... boy I'll tell
you what, it's been a long, long month or month and a half whatever it was.
JD: ...sick of hearing Chunichi this, Chunichi that,
what was it like
KM: Like I joked around yesterday, I was reading
something and the guy was like 'I'm so sick of the Kevin Millar story, and by
the way who is this guy? And I'm with them, I've been sick of it too you know...
but it was tough, it was one of those things that I didn't know the situation, I
sat there, I was on just on hold for the last 40 days, I was like 'what's
happening? what's going on?' you can't talk to many people, you don't have
any answers 'cause there's a first time for everything, the bottom line is I
agreed in principal to go to Japan and with everything getting close and my dad
and my wife and it was just a big old situation with the war and finally I said
'I'm not goin'" that's it. I'm changin' heart and 'that's it.'
GC: Good for you. You could have made more money
going to Japan but you would have been miserable. Let's face it, who the hell
wants to live in Chunichi in the prime of their career? Been there?
KM: Never been over there but obviously the money
was great and it was a great opportunity financially, but sometimes it's not all
about the money and I want to play in the big leagues and that was it.
JD: What did your family think about it?
KM: Everybody says what are you doin? Then they see
$6.2 million and they say 'hey we could do this'... but once it starts getting
closer you start thinking about living over there. Then all of a sudden comes
the big decision with Iraq. It's getting closer. At first it was like 'yeah
we're gonna go to war' when is it? But then it turned into a realistic
battle and then it was a battle in my family and I said 'you know what...
GC: That's like two months rent over there anyway,
KM: Yeah, you go out and have a beer and a steak and
it hurts about $300 bucks and I was like 'well you know...
GC: To show our support, we sprayed ourselves with
deer urine today, just to make you feel comfortable...
KV: I like it. First of all it does not hit. I
sprayed it on my bat and I think I hit about a buck forty for the first couple
weeks of last season, but the whole story on this is I went deer hunting for the
first time, I'm from Los Angeles, I live in Beaumont Texas which is a little
town outside Houston and we went hunting, it was windy, the guy tells me to put
this deer urine on my body so the bucks don't smell me... I guess you're
supposed to put it on your boot... I spray it like it was cologne... next thing
you know I realize what I was doin', he starts laughing, we get back to the camp
and he tells everybody, I said 'OK'... he gives me this little bottle, it says
'doe estrus', I took it to spring training and I said 'I'm gonna use this
opening day, I promise'... I was hoping to hit a home run opening day like it
could have been a helluva story, I got doe piss on my bat and hit a home run (haaaaa,
haaaa)... you know, some guy's signing with Nike, I'm signing with Doe Estrus...
it didn't work out, I hit a buck.
JD: If it worked out you would have had to gargle
with it or something...
KV: I would have done that, for hittin' .300...
JD: Isn't there a chance the buck would come up and
start humping your leg or something...
KV: Now I see the videos where the buck beat him
up... that's what can happen, so I walked in that deer stand real quiet...
GC: When did you know you were going to stay in the
states, when did you know you were going to be a Red Sock?
KV: What's today, Monday?... Saturday morning.
Saturday morning I was told that's it, you're a Red Sock, and I mean honest to
God, it felt like I took an 18-wheeler off my forehead because I have been
called probably nine bazillion times from different situation media from Florida
and everywhere else, and I couldn't talk and I felt like I was big-leaguing
everybody but I wasn't because I had no answers, but once that decision was done
it was Saturday morning and I took off four hours later.
JD: But wasn't there a point prior to that, when
Chunichi was not going to happen whether officially or not, once you decided you
were not going to go over there, it would have been hard to go over there... do
you think the reception would have been that warm if you had been forced to go?
KM: That's the thing, I mean I don't know what they
were trying to do. Once I told them 'look, I'm not going, this is a situation
where I can't'... I don't know if they really wanted me then, now I think they
were trying to bury me (they hate you now, oh yeah)... that's what was
unfortunate, it was nothing they did, I kept telling them that. I respect them.
I respect Japanese baseball. I'm not the kind of guy that's 'hey, I'm coming
here for more money'... I mean I'm gonna take less money to play here, but
that's not the issue right here. The issue is I got my father here, I got my
family here. And no one wants to go, and I have to make that decision.
GC: And your father is a Vietnam vet?
KV: He was a lab tech, medical field, during the
Vietnam War, over there in Fort Ord(?) so he got a lot of the guys coming back.
GC: What role did he play in the decision?
KM: Well finally I flew him and my wife to New York
last week, and we sat there for eight days in New York, but I wanted to fly them
in to meet Mr. Kadama and just to show them respect, instead of just me flying
there I wanted them to meet my father, to meet my wife and 'this is the
situation I'm dealing with' you tell me, if you were me, let me know, this is a
tough situation, this is real, I didn't want to go over there with half a heart
that's the big thing. I want to go over there and play as if nothing was wrong
but there's something wrong here, and I gotta make a decision.
GC: Are you an example, next time someone says
'major league ballplayers will do anything for money' do you stand as an example
as the contrary to that. Did you say money isn't everything?
KM: That's exactly what I was trying to let them
know. It would look bad if I had signed a two-year $10 million deal with someone
else and say 'no, I don't want you'... that's not going to be the case, I'm
going signing less with someone else and obviously it was with the Red Sox
Saturday, and that's where we're at.
JD: Did all this off-season turmoil in any way
rearrange your preparation, was it tough to keep grinding out, getting in the
cage, lifting weights, doing all the things you need to do to prepare?
KM: Well the tough part was I had to go to New York
for eight days, then John Lin with Chunichi came in town to meet, then I went to
Vegas for the Superbowl but I didn't want to come back 'till he was gone, you
know, 'cause it was a negotiation period and I felt it was unfair to me to have
to be dealing with this guy in my living room every four hours 'cause it's hard.
He's a great guy, as a human being, so I went home to Los Angeles for five days,
there were periods where I couldn't be on the field because I was dealing with
this stuff but I was still able to hit. I did a lot of Harley riding, and just
took off and went, so yeah I'm in Harley shape.
GC: Do you have to apologize publicly?
KM: I think right now Seth and Sam are doing
something that we're gonna write something up to apologize but just to let them
know 'it's not you, thanks for letting me out' I mean it's been a long process
'we told two million people you're coming, you're in the press guides, you're on
the season tickets... I'm gonna let you out that easy, but yeah I'll definitely
offer a public apology.
JD: As Kevin Millar the baseball player, you've been
described as a blue collar grinder, here on this club they call them dirt
dogs... what do you call yourself, what would your reference be... dirt dog,
grinder, blue collar, how would you describe your attitude toward playing the
KM: I think dirt dog's perfect, if that's what they
call it I think that's what I'll be. I'm a guy that just... I'm not pretty, I
mean I always joke around 'cause baseball's like 'your tools,' you're a
prospect... and you got the speed, the power the this and that... 'I don't have
a toolbox' I always say... I don't have one thing... but I have instincts. And
I'm a baseball player. I always go out there everyday, you're gonna be a goat
some days, you're gonna be a hero some, but I wear my heart on my sleeve I
think. I run every ball out and I play hard and I do the best I can and I'm a...
mentally, I'm pretty tough and I think that's gotten me to where I'm at. Other
than that I'm a normal sized guy. Doesn't do a lot on the field.
GC: Do you expect to play everyday?
KM: I expect to get some at-bats. Everybody's like
'hey, where you gonna play?' that's not for me to decide... I brought my first
baseman's glove. I know Theo and I spoke. I'm gonna play some first base. And I
played first base my whole career except the last couple of years I moved to the
outfield so first base isn't a problem, everybody's 'well, he's an outfielder,'
no, I was a first baseman all through the Marlins system, but I think at first
base I'll get some at-bats here (can you play right, left, first?). I play the
corners. Anywhere where you have to run, I can't play. (and I take it you can
DH?) yeah, I mean DH'ing in the interleague here and there, Cliff Floyd and I
would switch off, but it's not for me to say 'hey I expect this,' I want to come
in here and earn a spot, I don't have anything to prove, I'm not gonna come in
here and try to do too much but... I'm a dirt ball, I'm gonna do whatever it
takes. If he wants to put me in left one day and Manny wants to DH, and this and
that, and I'm at first base five days of the week, or whatever the case is...
GC: And you won't bitch?
KM: I will not bitch as long as I'm playing :-)
JD: If Grady came to you opening day and said
'listen, we're gonna give you one day to put your name in the lineup where you
want to in the batting order, we know you want to play first base, where do you
want to hit in the batting order?
KM: I'd like to hit fifth. Yeah, I like to hit
behind Manny. We had some good hitters (in Florida) but I don't think we had the
hitters that are in the league on this team and I think I could hide in this
lineup but I've always been an RBI guy and I've always hit well with runners in
scoring position so I think this would be a good opportunity, you know, they're
gonna pitch around the guys and probably go after guys like myself so...
GC: You hit .378 in the last 50 games, a 25
game hitting streak... why did they let you go?
KM: They basically needed left-handed hitting and I
knew that was coming, we needed that, once we got rid of Cliff Floyd, we were
all right-handed, we had Luis Castillo then it was righties all the way down.
Why they chose to let me go? I don't know... they just traded for Juan
Encaracion, they have Derek Lee who has a ceiling the size of the sky. And Mike
Lowell was a mainstay at third base. I don't hold it against them, it's their
decision, but I think I was the next guy in line to be expendable. Their
catchers were both right handed. They could have moved me to first, or traded
Derek Lee and bring in a left-handed hitting first baseman, but I think the
easiest thing was to keep their budget... 'we'll get rid of Millar' and that's
where we're at.
GC: Playing against lefties, that's not enough for
you is it?
KM: No. No. I think I've proven I can hit righties,
if I had struggled against righties... but I think I hit .300 against righties
and that's... I think that gets overrated at times. If a left hander can handle
left handed pitching, what's the big deal you know? If a guy really struggles
off lefties then that's when you play that role righties and lefties but tell
you the truth, sometimes I think I hit righties better. I don't even know to
tell you the truth.
GC: I know the tradition in Florida is big, I mean
it's been almost 10 years now with the Marlins, you got this little fly by night
organization in Boston, and Fenway Park, but do you have an appreciation for
that, do you look forward to playing in a town where baseball is big. It's
KM: Jai-Lai... it's bigger than boating
GC: What else is big in Miami? JD: Jai-Lai,
dog tracks, fishing... GC: Coke dealing... KM: Hooters... GC: You're gonna go to
the mall... I mean that deer urine story? You better get ready to repeat that
10,000 times a day.
KM: Is that because of you guys?
JD: Yeah partly... but we wouldn't exist if it
weren't for the passion of the people who listen to what it is we do, and what
KM: I agree... let me put this in my pocket, my
Copenhagen... GC: what is that your estrus? KM: That's the correct way of saying
doe piss... JD: I can see you doing a late night infomercial. KM: And I promise
you, if I had gotten off to a fast start that would have been me. GC: You'd be
like major league, the Indian guy Jobu, putting the hex on his bats.
KM: Yeah, I put the curse on, he put the good stuff
JD: Are you a superstitious guy?
KM: Oh I'll tell you, they'll be days where I have a
beard, and if I'm 0-3, next at-bat I'll come out and I'll have a fu-man
sometimes. Sometimes that crazy, I play tricks, not that I'm superstitious where
like 'oh God, this has got to be it' but I got a routine. I got a routine I do
on deck. Since '98 I have the same helmet and which I had them send to me.
JD: What is the outsiders view of the Boston Red
Sox. What did you think of them as opponents last year?
KM: Honestly, I'm a baseball fan since I was two
years old but this is an organization and these are guys on this team that are
unbelievable. I mean you're starting off with, I've never played behind Pedro
Martinez, to go out there and have a guy dominate. Our guy was A.J. Burnett
who's phenomenal but when he pitches like 'holy cow' but now to play with these
guys... it's an unbelievable situation.
JD: Welcome, the deal is finally done, we didn't
think it would be, the newest member of the Boston Red Sox... GC: What number
KM: I'm gonna talk to Casey Fossum about 15... GC:
You know what, it doesn't look right on him, he's too skinny for it, he needs
number 11, or number one, I think he should give it to you... KM: That's my next