Baseball is much of a business as it is a fun game, or a way to relax and escape the pressures of life at least for a few hours.
Kevin Millar yesterday spoke to The Sun’s Peter Schmuck, and more or less found out the hard way that the Baltimore Orioles are moving on, and will probably not extend an invitation for him to be part of the squad in ’09.
I loved Millar’s attitude and spirit with the Orioles; however, even I feel the team should give Huff a chance to play the position everyday or get younger at that spot.
The fun-loving first baseman expressed himself, and he was nothing short of candid, if even heart broken.
“Yeah, the bottom line is, obviously, they want to go in a different direction,” Millar said from his home in Beaumont, Texas. “Now, what that means, I don’t know. Are they going to win games this year? No. Obviously we know that going in. You’ve got to be realistic.
“I told Dave Trembley (with Millar at right) a month and a half ago, ‘Listen, I’m 37 years old. I’m ready to make that transition and do whatever I can do to help the young guys. If that means playing against left-handers, coming off the bench, whatever.’ I told him I’m ready to do whatever I need to do. They decided to go in a different direction, which is surprising to me. I’m not talking about this to sell myself. I’m low risk. I’m a one-year deal. I haven’t been on the disabled list in awhile. I get along with everybody.
Millar acknowledged that his struggles at the end of the season probably contributed to the team’s decision not to bring him back for a fourth season.
“It gets tough,” he said. “We lose every night. The last eight weeks it was tough to keep a good attitude. It’s tough to maintain that mental toughness and what happened, I struggled my butt off the last eight weeks and I was at fault for that and that left a bad taste in my mouth and in management’s mouth. I understand that it’s a big-boy world and I have to move on.”
Millar may seem to be a victim of a harsh new reality in the sport despite his numbers in 08 — players over 35, who have had injury concerns, in conjunction with the new economy will have trouble finding jobs, or may have to take a siginficant pay cut. Teams are now obviously sticking to cutting payroll, developing from within and avoiding to overpay for players.
I wish the best for Kevin Millar, and I’m sure he’ll get a job somewhere in the majors. If he’s forced into early retirement, he’s got a profitable career in television waiting. From what I saw as a fan, he was professional, fun, enaging with everyone including the media, and seemed to enjoy being in an Oriole uniform.
It’s too bad he could not come back to Baltimore, but the team sorely needs to rebuild and move on from the past.