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Let’s Talk About Millar

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar, who made a very bad mistakeThis is supposed to be a dead time for non-playoff baseball teams. No news, no signings, no transactions, no scandals — just radio silence in advance of the hot stove season.

Nobody really thought the Baltimore Orioles would go easy on us, did they?

So along comes big, dumb Kevin Millar and his brilliant idea to relive past glory by digging up the corpse of the Idiots. Cue the fan base firestorm.

I’m right there with those folks who have a…shall we say modified opinion of Millar after this. But let’s take a step back here and remember who the real villian is: Kevin Millar.

He made an error in judgment. He failed to recognize the ramifications of his decision, probably because he didn’t actually give any thought to the ramifications of his decision. A smarter man would have put out a press release that went something along these lines:

I’m humbled and flattered by the offer I received from the Red Sox. I loved playing there and part of my heart will always be in Boston. With that said, I’m a Baltimore Oriole now and my focus and effort this offseason are dedicated to returning a proud franchise to the winning ways that I know are right around the corner.

PR isn’t exactly a science — it’s really just understanding your target market and saying the things that will enhance their emotional attachment to whatever it is you’re selling. Millar, quite obviously, doesn’t get that.

But that’s his fault, and he’ll pay for it however the fans see fit. The fault does not lie with the Orioles, despite what so many haters want to believe. It’s not their place to tell their employees how to spend their free time, and I’m glad they feel that way. Responsibility should lie with the players to do the right things, and until they go hurting people or breaking laws we need to give them that freedom. They’re adults, after all.

So take it out on Millar all you want, but don’t use this as more fuel for Angelos hatred or MacPhail doubting. That’s just more of the same tired thinking that has helped land us where we are.

24 comments to Let’s Talk About Millar

  • Kona_Boy

    Neal, I think that says it all perfectly. 1, Millar did this because he didn’t think, period, he is not a master plotter of any sort. 2, its not directly the FO’s fault, I’m sure MacPhail allowed it thinking “oh I won’t need to tell him this or that to NOT do while up there because I’m sure he understand blah blah” (whoops).

    All Millar could’ve done is had a pre-taped video sent up there that he did at Camden, while wearing an item denoting his current Orioleness, wish them good luck from the team that helped them clinch AND THATS IT. None of this #15/first pitch/announcing lineup bull-puckey. I fully expect the FO, to try to fix the situation they didn’t plan for (not cause this time), to say something along the lines of “oh its not an issue because we know hes not going to play for us next year”.

    I would’ve loved to see Aubrey Huff’s face when he first heard/saw this unfold. “Damn. Guess I’m 1B now. “

  • neal s

    I’m not sure we’ll be lucky enough to see him removed from the team, though I certainly wouldn’t have a problem with that.

    But you know, even if he is still an Oriole next year I’m not going to sweat it. It’s not like he’s going to flub a grounder or pop out on purpose next time we play the Sox — dude is still a professional. I just don’t like him anymore, and I’m also fairly convinced that his IQ hovers just slightly above retarded.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    http://www.seattleshakespeare.org/2005-2006/MuchAdo/images/much-ado-image.jpg

    Evidently no one at TLC has ever been in a horrible relationship they regret and then have to go to their exes wedding.

    In all seriousness, once again, this is what I hate about modern sports. With the exception of football where the pure brutality transcends the mighty dollar and allows the viewer to loyally (yet myopically) identify their tribes and root savagely for them, all other sports sit exposed as the corporate whorehouses they have become.

    The fact that Millar pines for his days in Boston doesn’t speak to his loyalty towards Boston, but quite the opposite. Instead of say, signing with them for way below market cost, he came to a city he could give two shits about for as much money as he could, then openly pissed on them under the guise of comedy.

    This is New American Sports. This is the New America. Get yours, fuck the little guy, and somehow maintain some dumbass cowboy image. Wait, that reminds me of somebody higher up the food chain.

  • df1570

    It’s TOTALLY the Orioles fault. Some of you cats amaze me the way you refuse to look at their inept PR and Marketing and connect it with the fact that people in town – about 500k or so – no longer go to the games.

    Not the Orioles fault? It’s ALL their fault.

    Red Sox: “We are inviting a bunch of ’04 Red Sox back for one of the playoff games and we’d like to have Kevin Millar come back. We realize it might seem a bit awkward since he’s still playing and all…so that’s why we’re calling you guys FIRST – to make sure you’re OK with it. If you are, we’ll get a hold of Kevin and find out if he’s interested.”

    Orioles: (SHOULD HAVE SAID) – “You know, we’ve done a lot of things here over the last few years that have smacked the fans in the face, so we’re thinking it’s probably not a good idea to have Millar up there french-kissing all the Red Sox players and fans. But thanks for asking. We’re going to have to say no to this.”

    Orioles (SAID) – “Sure, Kevin can go up there and play “Cowboy Up” with the old gang. Our fans will probably be pissed, but they’ll get over it when we start winning again.”

    Dumb move on their part. D-U-M-B. The Mets told the Red Sox to stick it up their ass. In fact, Pedro said “I’m not interested.”

    To wit, here’s a good one for you. Millar actually called the Orioles TWICE to make sure they were OK with this. The second time around he called just to say, “You guys are sure you’re fine with this, right?” — Even Millar knew it would ruffle some feathers here, but he’s clearly still reveling in his days in Boston – and after these two years in Baltimore, why wouldn’t he?

    But this is really not that big of a deal. The O’s haven’t had their pulse on the Baltimore baseball community for the last 10 years or so. Why would now, today, be any different?

  • neal s

    Drew, I knew you’d react that way. And that’s no slam on you — you have your opinions and you stick to them. I may disagree but I do so with respect for where you’re coming from.

    My point is simply this: I don’t care if he called them two times, and I wouldn’t care if he had begged to be told “no.” Bottom line is that it’s not the Orioles’ responsibility to save him from himself. I’m pretty consistent with that feeling as it relates to virtually all issues, sports-related or not.

    Here’s where your way of thinking on this issue could become dangerous. Suppose that one of the O’s wants to do a good thing in the offseason, something we can all get behind, but for some reason it comes into conflict with the front office. Then suppose that conflict leads the brass to say “no way.”

    Man, you’d be first in line to rip them a new one.

    I’m sticking to the bigger picture. These are men who should be allowed to make their own decisions on how they spend their free time. It’s Kevin Millar who botched this one, plain and simple.

    Put it this way: just because he had permission to do it doesn’t make it someone else’s fault that he actually did it.

  • neal s

    Oh, and by the way: you should know by now that I’m well versed in the team’s PR failings. I’m equally well versed in the fact that said failings have impacted attendance. What you always gloss over is my other point, which is that the fans themselves bear a share of the responsibility for where we’re at. Not all of the responsibility, a share of the responsibility. You can’t seem to acknowledge that and I’m not sure why.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    God you guys are a broken fucking record. Neal I believe your eventual argument has to be that Baltimore is a shitty sports town. What else can you possibly be saying?

  • Andrew in Girlchester

    No sir, Baltimore is a premier sports town! The fault here is equal to everyone – Millar for being so inept as to ignore his current fanbase. He is one of the more popular players on the Orioles, but I have never, ever, ever seen him do anything in a capacity for Baltimore fans like he has for Boston fans. Ever. And I really never expect him to, which just smacks of poor judgement really. Bad PR. What’s he expect the still loyal fans to do, just say “Golly gee, whatever Kev. You’re a free spirit. I’m glad you still live in 3 years ago when smarter guys like Johnny Damon and Pedro Martinez moved on 2 years ago”. It’s infuriating on his part in that sense.

    The team, Andy MacPhail specifically, is just awful for saying okay 3 times. THREE GODDAMN TIMES! Doesn’t anyone have half a brain between them? What does Andy think we’re supposed to think about this? His job here is to resurrect this franchise. This is just such a slap in that job direction.

    But no, Baltimore is a great town, which is what makes how Kevin Millar treats it so aggravating. He ignores us to play lapdog to who he thinks are his real fans. Which, after this debacle, probably isn’t that too far off now.

  • i’m surprised how much heat this is generating …

    cuz i don’t give a rat’s ass one way or t’other.

  • Joe the Guy

    from dictionary.com:

    wayward (adj)

    1) turned or turning away from what is right or proper

    I agree with you in that I would care more if he was a player of significance…..

    but you can’t say you’re surprised people would have an opinion about it, you’re talking about an active player openly rooting, even tossing a first pitch for a rival team in his own division……..

  • Justin Blome

    Just another bruise on the corpse that Orioles basebal has become. I knew Millar was not the sharpest tool in the shed. This move proves he’s actually just a tool.

  • neal s

    It just gets worse and worse (at least for me, since I hadn’t seen these quotes before):

    “What active player has ever thrown out a first pitch for another team?” Millar asked Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein before the game. “We were claimed from the Chunichi Dragons. That was a first. Now the first pitch is a first.”

    “Just be happy you’re still active,” Epstein replied.

    Millar, who spent the first 10 seasons of his pro career with the Marlins, is signed through next season with the Orioles.

    Added Red Sox manager Terry Francona: “I don’t get it. I love it, but I don’t get it. … He’s a member of the Baltimore Orioles, he’s going to be spurring on the Red Sox and nobody is going to say a word. It’s hilarious.”

    (via this link)

  • Andrew in Girlchester

    Well, new day. I’m putting this behind me for now. I hope he gets all of this back when the season starts again, but for now there’s just no sense in keeping getting worked up over it.

    Facts:

    Kevin Millar has belittled us by cheerleading for the Red Sox, overtly wishing to be a Red Sock. He thinks it’s important to cheer up Red Sox Nation when they’re down 3-1 in the ALCS but not important to cheer up the Oriole faithful ever.

    He has further belittled us by saying this is no big deal and we shouldn’t get worked up over it. I’d say about half of the O’s fan(s) agrees with him, but the idea that any large percentage of the O’s fanbase is upset about this is good enough to warrant some sort of apology, which isn’t coming. Millar would do it again if the Rox go up 3-1, I’m sure.

    But what more is there to it? He’s not sorry, we’re angry (some of us), but – as somebody pointed out somewhere – this has reaffirmed to me that we are still quite the devoted fanatic fanbase to have something so immaterial (as in, who cares who throws out first pitches ever?) stir up so much ire. Maybe it’s an inferiority complex letting loose – so what? We’ve shown that we still give a fuck and that’s enough to offset this disaster for me until April, when Millar will get a ton of hatred sent his way via me, if noone else.

  • Kona_Boy

    holy crap neal! That article says it all! Well I’m glad some Os fans are proud to be mellow about this like it will them points or something outside of the state with other teams. Also forgot to mention this earlier, yesterday morning on ESPN while talking about the game they showed Millar throwing the first pitch and Linda Cohen’s response was almost exactly like Francona’s. “Uh…I’m not an Orioles fan…but if I was I…I don’t know that I would …like that too much.” Shocked that he did it and that our organization would allow it.

  • Kona_Boy

    *corrections*

    “…like it will WIN them points…”

    “…would allow it. Pretty much Linda, pretty much.”

  • dan the man

    One side of me is really not giving a shit about this. It’s kind of like how Manny gets a pass for watching a home run ball to bring his team within 4 runs. It’s Manny being Manny. This is pretty much Millar being Millar. He’s a doofus, but he has given 110% on the field in Baltimore. He’s still alright in my book.

    This is one time where I have to say that this is on the organization. Obviously, a good 80% is on Millar being half-retarded and a little too nostalgic. But regardless of whether or not we should be all out blaming the organization (we shouldn’t), it still looks bad when Terry Francona (see also: village idiot) sends a zinger of a quote like that towards the Baltimore FO. Bottom line is that this is exactly the sort of thing the Orioles don’t need… more stories like this that have the rest of baseball pointing and snickering at the Orioles organization like it’s the dorky kid at school.

    It’s embarassing. How many times have we used this phrase this year? It was embarassing when Gibbons got caught. It was embarassing get beat up 30-3 by Texas. It was embarassing giving up an 11-run inning. It was embarassing firing the manager. It was embarassing watching Daniel Cabrera start a brawl. It was embarassing when Gary Thorne somehow believed the bloody sock was a hoax. You know? Enough already. You get the sense MacPhail actually understands this, which is what makes this all the more mystifying and frustrating. Who knows, maybe it means he isn’t coming back and we’ll have Moore or Huff at 1B next year.

    I think the real villain here isn’t Millar or the Orioles, it’s the Red Sox. They’re the ones being protected by George Mitchell, who is affiliated with the Red Sox by the way, in this steroids scandal.

  • The REAL question is, and infact the only pertainant question amongst this page of Jive, is WHY (in bloody hell) did Kevin Millar throw out the First Pitch of Game 7 of the ALCS? Any insight? I can’t think of one good reason that he ought-to-be doing it. Maybe have Jhonny Peralta’s ex-girlfriend throw out the first pitch, or Eric Wedge’s ex-wife. That’s some unfounded bullshit, and I’m not There for That.
    I’ll tell you what I am there for: I am there for watching the Red Sox play a few more games. Let it snow in Colorado, and put the balls in a humidor, and do whatever it is that you want to do, but you aren’t stopping the Beantown Bombers from winning the World Series.
    And Once that happens, if a few more things would follow suit as fluidly and as guaranteed as I am predicting; I would like Jason Varitek to retire with another Ring and a little pride, Coco Crisp to be traded to the FIRST bidder without hesitation, and Jacoby Ellsbury to grow some facial hair.

    Infact, while we are at it, Kurt Schilling can Also Retire, and Terry Francona can Start chewing tobacco again.

    Most importantly Eric Gagne will be taken behind the shed Like Ol’ Yeller after he got Rabies, except don’t shoot him right between the eyes like Yeller, because Unlike Ol’ Yeller, I want Gagne to die slow. Yes. Shoot him several times in the stomach with a small caliber rifle, tie him to a tree in the woods in Texas, and leave him out for the Chupacabras.

  • ahaha Andrew In Girlchester that means you LOST the bet.

  • Northern oriole

    I think O’s fans are confusing their anger & hate towards RSN that invade Camden like locusts with a simple act concerning 2004. The shame is many former 2004 Red Sox with exception to Johnny Damon (shame on RSN) will or have thrown out 1st pitches yet only Orioles fans bitch and whine. Active Giant’s OF Dave Roberts (the steal) will be throwing out the first ball tomorrow.

    The shame is loyal O’s fans that fill the seats at Camden every game are the only fans that are behaving this way. Oh, you don’t support a losing team? Only a winning one? That is the classic definition of a bandwagonner. I watched every damn game & stuck out that 30-3 one because I expect players to give it their all no matter how futile and I believe REAL fans, real supporters should too.

    Once a season ends, and during the All Star break, players don uniforms and become teammates, all now employed by MLB. All money made from playoffs is divided between 30 teams, not 2. MLB generating ratings means more money for all teams.

    It’s good for baseball. Baseball is a diversion from our own worries. It’s entertainment and in the end, it means nothing. So this is much to do about nothing.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    Wow TC Gunner is wicked dumb. But I probably would have drank lots of beer with him in Mass. growing up and hit on chicks in graveyards and shit.

  • Andrew in Girlchester

    That ain’t beer.

  • neal s

    @ TC Gunner: wow. I’m glad you showed up and I hope you stick around, but man…you gotta get your ducks in a row.

    @ Northern Oriole: I dig what you’re saying about supporting the team. It echoes much of what I’ve been saying over the past nine months. And, frankly, I think you and BBM are probably right that this is much ado about nothing.

    I wish Millar hadn’t done it, and the esteem in which I hold him is diminished, but his stupidity doesn’t make the Orioles any better or worse. Let’s instead start arguing about which pitchers we should sign or invite to spring training, which trades we should make, etc. Those things have a lot more to do with our ’08 experience than the offseason actions of some big lug in a Godsmack t-shirt.

  • Joe the Guy

    I think Northern Oriole has the best point about the revenue sharing.

    Especially considering that our original question was:

    Why would the suits let Millar do this?

    well…there’s our answer.

    Can’t believe I didn’t think of that one either.

    One last point – I would bet there’s at least one pitcher in Cleveland who remembers this at some point next season and throws at Millar’s dome…….I know I would

  • Andrew in Girlchester

    Alright, here’s some reaction. I’ve heard Millar’s side of this, which is basically that he’s “a fan of baseball” and that he didn’t want to do this until the warehouse okayed it – calling it “a class act on the part of the orioles”, but mostly that he’s “not a red sock, [he's] a baltimore oriole” and “this is all very silly and sad”.

    BUT, if he did this because he loves baseball and not because he simply loves the Red Sox, what about the pre-game 5 video throwing his support firmly into PSN? I feel like that video is much worst than the first pitch business. Why isn’t anyone talking about that?

    When does he ever encourage the Oriole fanbase like he does with the Red Sox?

    Lastly, Yaz is throwing out the first pitch tonight (as per the Boston Globe).