Kevin Millar had many outstanding moments in his Major League Baseball career. The 2004 season has to rank really high up for him. That year he and the rest of the Boston Red Sox did the unbelievable by beating a 0-3 series deficit against the New York Yankees in the ALCS to move on in the playoffs and eventually win the World Series.
Now retired from the game he loves, Kevin is the co-host of the phenomenal show “Intentional Talk” with Chris Rose on the MLB Network. The show airs weekdays at 5 PM EST. If you have never seen this show you are missing out on some good times. Kevin and Chris talk baseball, but discuss a whole lot more. They even get players from around the league to sing on television. What other shows can do that? Not many!
Kevin is also a proud father of four. He and his lovely wife Jeane raise their kids with love and discipline. Make sure you follow Kevin on Twitter to see all the fun stuff he does with his family.
I had the great pleasure of talking with Kevin about his time in the majors, his show “Intentional Talk,” and fatherhood.
Art Eddy: I know that you have spoken about this issue at great length, but I have to ask you to put a bow on the Ryan Dempster and Alex Rodriguez fiasco?
Kevin Millar: I think that once everyone has their own opinions, because the bottom line is that what is the right thing to do? Players are upset that A-Rod is playing. They feel that he should be suspended. They feel that he should be serving his suspension. There is an appeal process that Alex has the right to go through, which any other player would go through, and he is appealing this process.
I think the whole bottom line is that we know too much about Alex Rodriguez’s situation. It is public knowledge. For some reason it has been public knowledge and most players that appeal their process we don’t hear about it. There has been a ton of players that have appealed. Melky Cabrera. Miguel Tejada was just playing through an appeal process. Ryan Braun played through his appeal process, but no one knew about it.
Alex Rodriguez, we all knew about it. Players are kind of angry because one now you are judging a guy. The other side of it is the Ryan Dempster situation. The first pitch behind the calf. Did it shock everybody? Sure it did. It wasn’t a dangerous pitch. I do think we blow things out of proportion because it is Alex Rodriguez and the situation. There are players in baseball that get hit every single night. We saw Bryce Harper get drilled in the thigh two weeks ago when he hit a home run off of (Julio) Teheran.
So this happens. It is baseball. I mean my goodness gracious Dempster hits A-Rod. He hits his elbow pad, grazes him in his ribs and it became a huge story. I think everybody is confused. Everyone has got their own opinion. I really don’t know the right situation or the right way. I don’t want to be the Red Sox homer and be anti-A-Rod. That is not what I am about. I am just confused.
This is the first time I think that we have seen this in our sport, ever. It is a lightning rod and Alex Rodriguez should be serving a major suspension and he is going through the appeal process. Players are angry and you are hearing voices. We saw the first action by a Major League player in Ryan Dempster.
AE: Before we talk about your career in the majors, I want to talk about the show you co-host with Chris Rose called Intentional Talk that launched April 2011 on the MLB Network. It looks like you have blast on that show. You and Chris work great together. How did you get involved to be on the show?
KM: First of all it is a tremendous show. The reason why I say that is if you have one game the Red Sox and Yankees game and you have five different shows, you can only talk about that game so many times. Yankees win 3-1 and (Robinson) Cano hits a three run home run, how many times and spins can you see the Cano home run and that they Yankees won?
It started back then and we love to laugh. I am not a comedian by any means. What you see is what you get, but I am a little goofy. What you see is going to be from my heart. You are going to laugh. It is different. You are going to have relevant videos. You are going to have a player interview every day. We are not going to talk baseball half the time. We are going to ask them a lot of funny questions. Every week we try to get better.
We have a rapid fire segment that is just off the wall questions that players love. It is shocking some of the questions. Two days ago we had J. J. Hardy and one of the questions I asked him was give me the worst thing about Buck Showalter’s face. To see his reaction, he was like ‘What? I can’t say that.’
The show itself is fun. Chris Rose is brilliant. He is very smart. He is very knowledgeable. He is a hard worker. He has helped me a lot. I met Chris through “The Best Damn Sports Show” days when he was working there and I played with the Red Sox. They asked about doing the show. Tony Petitti and John Entz asked, ‘Would you like to do a show?’ I live in Austin and have four kids, I can’t live in Jersey, but they put a camera in my house.
We tried it. It took time. The first three months we were double talking, speaking over each other, but it truly is a fun show. I enjoy doing it. I love doing it. Hopefully everyone who gets a chance to watch it can at least laugh.
AE: What are some of your favorite moments so far on Intentional Talk?
KM: I think when we get players to sing. I mean you are getting Major League players to sing on a microphone. We had Mike Stanton and Michael Morse and it just started. It was like sing us a song, the best line. The next thing you know these are looking in the camera like they are JLO. When you start playing them back, it doesn’t get any better than that. It is great.
Last year at the World Series we had Marco Scutaro on the set and Miguel Cabrera. They start getting into it with each other. Talking about each other’s hair. It is a World Series game and they are getting ready to face each other. This isn’t an All-Star Game. That is what are show is about. Players feel comfortable and you are going to get anybody you want because the trust us. They are not getting the standard baseball question like how do you feel and blah, blah, blah.
AE: Who would be your ultimate guest to have on your show?
KM: I think the biggest running joke has been Derek Jeter. I think Derek Jeter has to come on the show. I want to talk about his hair. How bad his hair is. I want to talk about his cologne. He has never sent me a bottle of his cologne. I want to know who Derek Jeter really is. I think he would probably be a great interview. I don’t think that anybody rags on Derek Jeter publicly. I am going to rag on him. I think it is time for America to know about Derek Jeter.
He has got a lot money. He has got a lot of rings and he is good looking. We know all that. I want to know about some of the girls that he has dated like the rest of the world.
AE: Switching to your playing days as a Red Sox fan I will always remember 2004 season for many reasons. One was your famous rally cry “Cowboy Up.” Take me back and talk about the change of emotions in the clubhouse from Game 3 in the ALCS to Game 4?
KM: In Game 3 we got beat 17-8 or 9 or whatever that score was I was hoping that (Hideki) Matsui and (Gary) Sheffield had blisters on their hands. I think they had four hits and a couple of home runs. I was thinking that maybe their hands were damaged for Game 4. Maybe their blisters are bleeding and they won’t be able to play the next day. At that point we are down 0-3 and we got crushed. There is a long road ahead. You can’t make it up.
You can’t win four straight games against the mighty Yankees. It was a bad time. We showered. As soon as I got up the next day, that night it stays with you, I read the paper. Dan Shaughnessy wrote an article and in there he called us frauds that we all have seen. Then it hit me. I said okay, I didn’t think we were frauds.
I thought that the Yankees were better than us. I got that. You can say that. Sheffield, A-Rod, and Jeter and (Jason) Giambi and Matsui, I get it. They are better, but you can’t call us frauds. I am over there looking at Billy Miller and Trot Nixon and Jason Varitek and Pedro (Martinez), we are not frauds. We are just down 0-3.
That got me a little bit. I got to the field. It was like this little light switch that clicked on. I got to figure this out. When Dan Shaughnessy walked in I wore him out publically in the locker room. I said, ‘Your hair sucks Dan. You got a red perm.’ He had no idea where I was coming from. I am like yea your hair sucks.
He said, ‘Why are you on me?’ Then the whole fraud thing came out. I said don’t let us win tonight and that is how the whole thing started. At that point I think that was our only hope. It was to forget about the three games and let’s move forward and let’s try to win a game tonight. I felt strong with that statement and it is amazing how it all worked out.
AE: Is there one singular moment that stood out to you when you saw the tide turning for you and your teammates?
KM: The part that really turned and I think was the Tony Clark ground rule double. If that ball doesn’t go in the stands we probably lose Game 4 and the series is over. His ball goes into the stands, they can’t score. Now it stays second and third and we win that game. Now you start seeing uh-oh, it was just like one win.
At that point, I don’t care who says who, that pressure is in their dugout. They were a nervous wreck. They knew that this was not looking good. I don’t care who you are, but that was just the way it was. We had nothing to lose. When we left the hotel room going to Yankees Stadium they had no chance. They really had no chance.
They were going to try so hard. There was no ghosts this year. It was the boys of the Sox were going to roll in here and it was just the way it was. It was in the cards. You can’t fight that. We went up there and boat raced them in Game 7. Johnny Damon with two home runs. It was just in the cards. You can’t have a rivalry if you are not going to let us win once. It was about time we won one.
AE: For people like me that will never experience winning a World Series, can you describe what it was like to win a championship?
KM: It is indescribable, because you are men, you are dads, and you are husbands. You got gray hairs. Some of the guys have bad bodies. They are old, but yet we are kids. You are playing for a ring. You are playing for a World Series Championship. You are playing for a title. You are playing for a city. I am telling you, you can’t describe it.
The Boston Red Sox are number one at that point. 86 years they haven’t won anything. Say what you want with the Cubs. They are the lovable losers. They are cute. They drink beer on day games. I get it. It will be a cool World Series one day, but there is nothing like Red Sox nation at that point. That group of guys, because we were normal. We are bad bodied, normal guys not making $40 million a year.
We are not good looking. We are just normal guys. I think Boston related to us and we were like one big family. We were out. We didn’t have VIP limos dropping us off at the bar. We want a beer, we went across the street on Boylston and go get a beer. You put all that in. It doesn’t make sense, but is was that group, that year, that series, that championship, we were a bunch of kids and it was awesome.
AE: Switching to fatherhood you have four children. If people follow you on Twitter they see the good times you have as a family. For you what does it mean to be a dad?
KM: Me and my wife, we had kids later on in my career, which was awesome. Sometime I saw the ten year old, twelve year olds on the field with their dad, I was like, ‘Man I wish I had my son out here.’ I was able to have them out towards the end of my career. I think my little guys were like four years old.
There is nothing more gratifying than being a father. Knowing that, that is your blood. Knowing that they are like you. They listen to you. They look up to you. Since the day that my kids have been born it has been in their blood. The baseball aspect of it. It is not because dad is the homer, my sons Kash and Kanyon are Red Sox groupies. They are like Ben Affleck in those movies.
The Red Sox toothbrush and the Red Sox this and Big Papi. They know these players because the have been in the clubhouse at such a young age. They now think that they are in the big leagues. They get pissed off at me when they can’t go play and sit in the clubhouse during a game. I am like this isn’t tee ball. I can get you Tom Werner and John Henry seats. We can get you as close as we can. He is mad that he is not sitting next to John Ferrell. He wants to play shortstop.
So there is nothing like now. I will always remember what my dad said, ‘You will see when you have kids.’ He had his chance to watch his son play in the big leagues. Go into Dodgers Stadium where I grew up. Hit a home run in Dodger Stadium and have Vin Scully announce that home run. My dad still has that tape to this day and listens to it now and then. He grew up with Vin Scully for 35, 40 years listening to him. I heard that as a kid.
Now I know because when my son played tee ball two years ago, for the first time, me and my wife got tears. I am like I am that dad. I am like, ‘You go boy.’ He hit a home run. Well actually it went through the shortstop’s legs and into the outfield. The kid fell down. He is picking flowers. This is your happiness.
AE: What do you guys like to do for fun as a family?
KM: I think in this generation we forget about dinner time. I love dinner. My wife cooks. I love to sit at the table with the kids. We have little kids, two eight year olds, a six year old and a three year old that runs the show. She is more like 30. She speaks better than I do. Dinner time, it seems that it is gone.
Everyone is in a rush. Everyone is looking at their phones. Everyone has got their iPads. That stuff is put up we have dinner. We talk about our favorite part of our day. We enjoy being together. You develop a bond. If there is one piece of advice that I would give to families, try and have dinner. Try to schedule dinners together and talk about your day. Kids love that.
AE: What are some of the key things that you want your kids to always take away from you?
KM: You know love. We drop them off at school. They will be in third grade this year. I always say you give daddy kisses, no matter what. To this day when I see my dad, I hug him and there is a kiss on the cheek. I think that you are never too cool to give your mom or dad a kiss.
I want them to remember me with treating people with respect. The discipline sometimes. We are not allowed to discipline people these days. You have a coach that yells at a player and he is in trouble because the parents are calling the high school. I am like come on. I remember when coaches were throwing bats and balls at us when I was in school. Discipline is a big part of our household.
They know that dad likes to play. What I always tell people, having a child is responsibility. It is not sticking an iPad in his face for eight hours. You got to play. It is work. It is fun work. It is a job. There are times where you want to put your feet up. You are pulling your hair out and you haven’t talked to your wife for a week. Yet you enjoy those times because it goes so fast. I want them to remember dad as that I am always loving and that daddy needs a kiss before I drop you off at school or you are not leaving.