By Brian Waller - AngelsWin.com Columnist
No matter which team you follow, there are just some players that you respect. Kevin Millar has always been one of those players. Millar can easily be defined as a team player, a guy his teammates rally around and someone who plays the game of baseball the right way. Angelswin.com recently had an opportunity to interview Millar about a number of topics including his transition from the baseball diamond to the sound stage, his memories of playing at the "Big A", and his opinion on whats wrong with Albert Pujols.
Waller: Kevin, first of all I know you are very busy and have a lot going on; on behalf of AngelsWin.com, thank you for taking time out of your schedule to speak with me today.
Millar: Not a problem at all Brian, my pleasure.
Waller: Kevin, what has the adjustment been like for you going from the baseball diamond to a sound stage with the MLB Network?
Millar: It’s gone really smoothly. The timing of it all worked out really well, I was released by the Cubs and was contacted by the MLB Network about possibly doing a show, everything just kind of fell into place. I was blessed to have been able to play the game as long as I did and I was fortunate enough to get to work with the MLB Network and now I get to cover baseball every day which I absolutely love.
Waller: When you were a player you always seemed to have a positive attitude and seemed like a great clubhouse guy, is it hard to keep such a positive frame of mind through a long 162 game season?
Millar: Not at all. As a player, when you take a step back and realize just how truly blessed we are to wear a baseball uniform and go out on the field it is difficult to not have a positive attitude. I have a great love for the game and I didn't take anything for granted, I went out there and played every game as hard as I could.
Waller: As a fan of the game, I have to say it's refreshing to hear a player acknowledge what a blessing it is to wear a uniform and play the game of baseball. Switching gears, what kind of memories do you have of facing the Angels back in your playing days?
Millar: I always loved coming to L.A. because I have a lot of family and friends in Southern California. I have a lot of good memories at the “Big A”, I especially remember hitting a home run off of (Ervin) Santana one game and looking up in the stands to see my family, it was cool. I will say this though; I always hated the “Rally Monkey”. As an opposing player that was one guy you never wanted to see, the “Rally Monkey”. If you saw him that means that you were in trouble.
Waller: The Yankees and the Red Sox have arguably the most intense rivalry in baseball. In recent years the Angels and the Rangers have started to develop a pretty nice rivalry themselves. Do you see the Angels/Rangers rivalry intensifying?
Millar: You know, I think the Angels/Rangers rivalry is really interesting. You have a team that was close to winning the World Series the past two seasons and a team that just brought in some really good players this past off-season going head to head. This past off-season, in my opinion, really heated the rivalry up, especially with C.J. (Wilson) going to the Angels. The Rangers got off to an incredible start and unfortunately the Angels got out of the gate a little slower then expected.
Waller: What do you expect out of the Angels the rest of the season?
Millar: I think the Angels are still in the hunt, with their pitching staff they can easily roll off 20 wins in 25 games. The season is still fairly young; it’s pretty early to be looking at the standings. They have a lot of talent on that team and Mike Scioscia is a terrific manager.
Waller: Obviously Albert Pujols has started very slow this season, as a former player who has switched leagues, can you give us some insight on what type of adjustments Albert is going through?
Millar: It’s all about adjustments, that’s what the game is about. Albert is definitely going through a big transitional period right now, think about it like this; he’s faced NL pitchers like Ryan Dempster about 50 times and he has learned his tendencies as a pitcher. Now that Albert has switched leagues, he’s facing guys for the first time in some cases, he doesn’t know their tendencies. He doesn’t know guys in the bullpen; he doesn’t know some of these AL guys’ “out pitch”. Albert will be fine; he is just going through a big adjustment period.
Waller: Kevin, once again thank you for taking time out of your schedule to talk with AngelsWin.com today, we really appreciate it. You bring a unique perspective to the MLB Network and your show is a blast to watch. Thanks again for your time today.
Millar: It was my pleasure Brian. Take care.