So far, everything is going good in Florida. The sun is shining down there, it’s warm, players are proclaiming themselves to be in “the best shape of their lives”, plus a few players says they are going to step up and take a more active role in the team.
In about six weeks, the Orioles will open up the 2010 season against the Rays and most of us fans are hoping for a respite from the losing. For a change, this team looks promising — not to say they are going to contend for a pennant, but upward.
This morning in the Baltimore Sun, Peter Schmuck has an article about Millwood. After reading it in full, I ended up being nothing but impressed on what I saw on my laptop screen.
So far, it looks like Kevin Millwood is taking the leader role in camp amongst the hurlers and will use his experience to help out.
Millwood already seems to have bought into the whole mentorship mentality.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun, seeing these guys learn and mature a little bit,” Millwood, 35, said. “I think it’s going to be exciting. There’s nothing better than giving a guy a scouting report and seeing him take it to the field and see it work.”
It’s not a new concept for him. He played the veteran leader in the Texas rotation the past few years, and several young starters stepped up last season to help the Rangers win 87 games.
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“I’m not going to change what I’ve done in the past,” Millwood said. “I’m not a vocal guy, but if something needs to be said, I’ll try to help guys out if I can.”
That’s just fine. It’s not about discipline. It’s about being an important part of the environment for the younger guys. It’s about sitting in the dugout with one of them and analyzing a situation on the field, or noticing something and mentioning it in a more casual situation.
“I might bring something up in a conversation, or maybe ask the pitching coach about it to get his view,” Millwood said. “When it comes down to it, we’re here to win and help each other out, but I’m not going to step on toes.”
Trembley isn’t asking Millwood to be an enforcer. He just wants him to show the way and — so far — he’s doing just that.
“He’s the first guy for stretching,” Trembley said. “He’s the first going from field to field. That’s what the No. 1 does.”
Even though my impression of him at Fan Fest was that he was a quiet guy and very laid back, in Sarasota according to the scribes is leading by example and not necessarily being a rah-rah guy. Not to say that Millwood is meek, but I think if one of the youngsters in the rotation gets hammered or is having a bad day, I can see him stepping up and speaking his mind.
I don’t know how he’ll do on the mound this year, but he’s a proven winner in the majors and see him in sort of a role that Rick Sutfcliffe played years ago in Baltimore. He may be here only for a season, but no matter what happens with the Orioles this season, I can see him leaving a mark on the young arms throughout their careers.