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Kevin Millar is a good guy; but if Country-and-Western bars start to outnumber Irish pubs in Greater Boston, we'll know who to blame. If anybody can get the city two-stepping, it's this cult hero.
A little-known veteran before he arrived in Beantown last spring, Millar sparked nearly as many summer fads as late-inning rallies. Like a latter-day Gene Autry, Millar rode into Fenway with his "Cowboy Up" catch-phrase and a "Rally Karaoke" rendition of Springsteen that put that little Angels monkey to shame.
Millar isn't even a country kid. Sure, he honed his craft in Texas with four years of "study" in Beaumont. But the rabble-rouser hails from Hollywood and has a hankering for hairdos. A tinsel-town cowboy solely responsible for so many irritating fads? Who does this guy think he is?
Page 2's Mary Buckheit can't stand quick-to-fade fads or flash-in-the-pan fashion -- she never even bothered to learn the Macarena -- but after leading Kevin Millar through 10 Burning Questions, she's ready to admit that this hipster's here to stay.
And we haven't reached the part where adoring Boston fans drop their 'Rs' for Kevin in the men's room. (Don't worry, he's used to it by now.)
1. An enraged Don Zimmer comes charging out of the dugout at YOU. What do you do?
I grab both his ears and pull him down to the ground.
What? Not you! Not Kevin Millar, MLB's 2002 'Good Guy of the Year' Award recipient?!
Yeah, that's true. I take heat for that award, you know? My teammates kinda get on me for that one. There are so many awards -- MVP, Gold Glove, best hitter. And what do I get? The 'Good Guy' Award, whatever that means.
It means you're a good guy.
2. Where's the strangest place a Red Sox fan has come up to you and shouted, "Millahhhhhh!!!!!!"
"Millahhh, hit a homahhhh!" Man, I get that ev-ery-where. The strangest place? Hmm ... Geez, now that I think about it, I really hear that all over the place. It's hilarious. I can't even pick one spot. I guess in the men's room? That's pretty strange, right?
Yeah, I'd say so. Relentless Red Sox Nation.
Haha. It's a riot.
So you live in Beaumont (Tex.) and work in Boston. They both begin with a "B." What else do they have in common?
Uhh, bull ... Bull blank.
Pretty much. Everywhere's got bull, though, you know?
3. You went to Lamar U. Tell me something I don't know about that school. Like, where is it?
Ha, yeah, exactly. Lamar is in Texas and it has about 10,000 students. I still remember my recruiting trip there. I grew up in Los Angeles; and I visited it and I remember I just loved the campus. It's really awesome. It's all red brick. I liked that ... and it had pretty girls.
Ah, there it is. The truth comes out.
Alright, you got me.
So you were a business major?
No, I was actually a baseball major. But on a lot of the forms, you have to pick from options they list for you. So I circled business.
So you can't give me any brilliant visionary solutions to MLB's economic dilemma?
Nope. To tell you the truth, I'm not real smart.
But you're a good guy.
So they say.
4. When is the last time you did karaoke?
This offseason, actually. We went to a bar and we did some karaoke. I'm pretty sure they didn't tape it this time, though.
That's what you think.
Seriously. Look out. You never know.
Who has the best singing voice on the team?
I'd have to say Damian Jackson.
Did you at least get free tickets to the Springsteen show at Fenway for your rally services?
You know what? I was going, but we were playing the Yankees that night. So I got stung.
Theo plays guitar. If you guys had a show at Fenway, what three songs would you definitely sing?
Pearl Jam: "Black."
"Oh, the pictures, all been washed in black, tattooed everything ... "
There you go!
Good choice. Keep goin'.
OK. Creed: "Weathered." And Three Doors Down: "When I'm Gone."
I can see it now ... Monster Ballads B-sides, as seen on TV.
5. Do you have any regrets about coining the infectious catch-phrase, "Cowboy Up"?
You know what? I have NONE.
You're not even a little sick of it?
Umm, no, not really. I mean, I think the team and the fans, we all had so much fun with it. It was a good time.
Have you or the Sox tried to copyright it, like Pat Riley and "Threepeat"?
Yeah, but it was already copyrighted by a cowboy about 30 years ago. They looked into it, but it was too late.
What do you think about the Patriots biting off your lingo these days? Is that OK by you?
See now, "Eskimo Up" probably hasn't been copyrighted yet, so they should get on that. As far as infringement, it's the same city, so we're alright. The Pats can use it.
6. Any new hairstyles to break out this season?
I think this year, if we do get to the Promised Land, I'm going to try and break out the mohawks. I saw Jack McDowell at a convention last week, and he had a mohawk. I said, "THAT will be the 2004 Sox in the playoffs!"
What would it take for Nomar to go mohawk?
Well, we let Nomar off the hook last year because he was getting married and he didn't want to shave his head and we understood that. But this year, he would have to be a part of it all.
Were you at the big Mia-Nomar wedding?
No, I was unable to go.
How does Mia get along with the Sox? Do you pal around with her?
Mia is awesome. She is really nice and, being an athlete, she really understands what's going on and what Nomar goes through. She's as busy as we are.
7. Are you ready to pal around with Curt Schilling?
Yes. Curt Schilling is a great and welcome addition to our team.
Curt-shmurt ... how 'bout Keith Foulke!
I think Keith is one of the top two or three closers in the game right now, and I can't wait to have him really solidify our bullpen.
Speaking of the bullpen, you guys going to stick up for your groundskeepers this season?
Yeah, man! Haha, our grounds crew man! We got him. I just saw him the other night. We'll take care of him; and, hopefully, all that gets resolved in the meantime.
8. Did you watch the World Series last year?
Would you have been able to do commentary for Fox if they had asked you?
Umm ... I ... Yes, I would have. I'm a baseball guy and a baseball fan; and as much as it hurt, you go through that stuff as an athlete and it makes you stronger and better and it makes you know what you want and why you do what you do. So, I would have. I definitely would have done it.
9. Which part of your body hurts the most from the ALCS pain?
My brain. Mentally knowing that, not only were we just five outs away from the World Series, but also that I had the chance to play in that against my former team, the Marlins ... who ended up beating the Yankees for the whole thing. Yeah, that hurts my mind.
How did you console yourself after Game 7?
To tell you the truth, I rented a plane, and my dog and my wife and I flew home privately. We ate lobster and basically just lived the lifestyles of the rich and famous for just that one evening.
10. Did Grady stick with Pedro too long?
No. I stand behind Grady Little and his decision for this reason: Pedro Martinez is our ace. We live with Pedro; we lose with Pedro. I would never have taken him out -- Pedro did everything he could. We lost the game. That's the bad part; but with Pedro out there, we absolutely had the chance to have it.
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