Kevin Millar is a long shot, at best, to make the Cubs’ Opening Day roster but one thing is certain … he gets it. There is nothing loveable about being a loser.
Kevin Millar spent a little time on Friday with Waddle and Silvy (ESPN 1000). The always-talkative former idiot discussed the Cubs and his chances of making the team out of Spring Training. Kevin Millar is already in Mesa preparing for Spring Training (along with Carlos Zambrano). Millar said, “When you’re 50 years old you gotta get ready to compete with all of the young guys.” Millar came up as a third baseman and wants to prove he can still play the position. He mentioned he played the hot corner a couple of games at the end of last season.
Millar loves playing third but feels he must show the Cubs he can still play there … as well as first and in the outfield. Millar feels he has a shot as maybe the Cubs sixth, seventh, or eighth outfielder … as well as a right-handed bat off the bench.
Millar likes the National League because players are more involved. For the first time in his career, Millar was a role player for the Toronto Blue Jays last season. As a platoon player in the American League it can be as long as ten days in between playing time.
Millar is looking forward to playing with a National League team again.
He understands he’s a long shot to make the Cubs. Millar pointed out there are intangibles that are just as important as stats. People get so tuned into the numbers that they forget that teams that wins championships … not players.
Millar feels he can bring leadership to the Cubs and help build a family atmosphere in the clubhouse … where every player is pulling for the other. Most importantly to get everyone on the right page and believe as a team “we can do this.”
According to Millar, Jim Hendry knows what he can bring to a team outside of just a right-handed bat off the bench.
Millar believes lack of team chemistry is one of the Cubs biggest problems. He does not feel team chemistry is overrated. He explained that teammates should be pulling for one another and focused on winning.
“When you win, it’s a lot of fun,” according to Millar.
“You’ve always heard that the Cubs are the lovable losers. You go out to the bleachers, you have some beer, you root for the Cubs and they get blown out 11-2 and we scream Harry Caray. That’s not what it is about. When I signed with Boston in ’03 they had the same negative atmosphere. The media beat you up. The one thing that I think our group brought is that we didn’t care about everything that was said. All we had to do was believe we could play and win the game that night.”
“This whole curse stuff, it isn’t funny. It’s not the lovable loser anymore. You’re got to go into camp focusing on the big picture and get prepared and get a chance to know the guys. Something has got to be different here because it hasn’t worked so you’ve got to get that winning attitude. You’ve got to get these guys believing they can do it, that Derrek Lee is going to win the MVP, that Ryan Dempster can win 20 games. That’s what it’s about.”
Millar feels the Cubs have a good team and they are in the right division … unlike the AL East. He explained that the Cubs have a nice pitching staff but something was just missing. Millar thinks Marlon Byrd is very underrated and if healthy, Xavier Nady could be a huge addition. He pointed out there are a lot of good guys coming in to the Cubs’ clubhouse.
Millar has never played for Lou Piniella but loves Lou’s intensity. He’s looking forward to playing for him.
The Cubs’ clubhouse should be extremely loose this spring. With Ryan Dempster, Kevin Millar and Ted Lilly running around, all of the other players should not let their guard down.