Friday, February 24, 2006

Aviary Up!

FenwayNation spoke with ex-Red Sox hero Kevin Millar yesterday at the Orioles opening day workouts at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale. Just prior to a camera shoot for his new Orioles life, Millar spoke with us about the fairy-tale 2004 season. After we recalled his mythic at-bat against Mariano Rivera in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, the oft-maligned free spirit smiled and simply said, "Thank you....that was a heck of a year, wasn't it?".

It was quite a different scenario for Millar, who worked out with the "second flock" of Birds on the minor league field—while starters like Miguel Tejada, Melvin Mora, Brain Roberts and Javy Lopez toiled on the main field in front of a smattering of Baltimore fans. Not unlike the situation at Camden Yards, the most vocal onlookers were Red Sox sympathizers—hooting their adulation for the guy who personified the Cowboy Up culture. Can anyone ever forget his pre-Game 4 hi-jinks, predicting a 4-game sweep in the '04 ALCS?

It was a little sad seeing him accepting the fate of part-time player on this rather anemic Oriole roster. With Javy Lopez reportedly refusing a DH role, and Ramon Hernandez ensconced behind the plate, Millar is unlikely to see very much playing time. His only shot seems to be a red hot Spring that will convince new skipper Sam Perlozzo that his bat can't be kept out of the line-up. Don't count on it. As he signed autographs, for a moment, he was the swashbuckler of Fenway once again. At least for a little while.

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