08/18/2003 12:20 PM ET
Millar: It's a new year, new team
Fans should rally around this Red Sox club
After five seasons with the Florida Marlins, Kevin Millar is fitting right in with the Red Sox. The first baseman is doing a first-person column for MLB.com twice a month this season. In the latest installment, the veteran right-handed hitter talks about the Curse of the Bambino and how the players on this year's Red Sox don't let the prevailing negativity on the outside affect their focus.
When you play for the Red Sox and you're in the race and you get to this time of year, you're going to hear about The Curse. There's no way around it. The guys that have been here, like Tim Wakefield and Trot Nixon and Jason Varitek and Nomar Garciaparra, they've been through it before.
The new guys, we don't know any better. Billy Mueller and myself, David Ortiz and Todd Walker, we don't know any better and that's a good thing.
I have to be honest with you, there are a bunch of new faces in this clubhouse that really don't believe in that stuff. We believe this is the team to do it. We believe that this is the team that can win the World Series. That's the honest to God's truth.
I'd take my team to battle with anybody. That's the difference. The belief in this locker room, the new guys, the chemistry, the makeup of this team -- we have a bunch of dirtbags and we're ready to win.
It's almost to the point where the media is waiting for you to fail. The radio shows, the TV shows, the newspapers, want you to fail. You almost get that sense.
That's not the sense in this locker room. We lost our first two in Oakland and I guarantee you there was probably talk about here we go again. And you look at how awesome this team has been as far as bouncing back and beating Mark Mulder on the third day. Maybe we had a chance to be swept there. And we bounced back and won the next game. We split two and two.
This team doesn't let the distractions on the outside hurt us. That's a big difference. We have enough guys in this locker room that are veterans. You understand what goes on in the outside, but we don't let that affect the clubhouse.
Sure, you feel for the Wrigley Fans in Chicago and the Red Sox fans in Fenway. There's no doubt about it, you feel for them. But no matter what has happened in the past, every year is different. This year is different. This is a bunch of different guys.
There are a bunch of gamers on this team. We feel that the Yankees aren't the old Yankees. I feel there are some holes there. They're getting older. There are teams around the league that aren't the same. This is a different year and we're ready to roll.
If you're a fan of the Red Sox, this year you have to adopt this team. You have so many personalities on this team who are so special. You've got Billy Mueller over there at third base, the ultimate baseball player. You've got David Ortiz who is the big teddy bear. You have so many personalities to adopt.
This is a great team to root for. It's almost like the '93 Phillies when you had Darren Daulton and Lenny Dykstra and Mitch Williams and John Kruk and Dave Hollins, that was a fun team to root for. The Anaheim Angels last year were a fun team to root for.
This team is fun. You have a bunch of guys who come to the field and play to win.
If we won it all here, you'd see 23 guys buy houses here. They'd move their residence because you'd have the key to the city the rest of your life. There would be nothing more special than to have this team do it.
Every morning I wake up and feel rejuvenated. There were the days with the Marlins in the past when you'd come to the field and you're dragging and you're playing the games out.
I get up in the morning and I feel like it's Spring Training. I'm as excited to come to the field as I was in February. That's the difference. You come to this point of the season and a lot of times, guys' bodies are tired ... not in this clubhouse. You have to be excited. Every pitch means something. That's got to keep you going.
You have to love this team because it's one through 25. There will be days when Nomar might not hit or Manny Ramirez might not hit. But you know what? That's the day when Johnny Damon will pick it up or Todd Walker or I might pick it up. Jason Varitek might pick me up.
Then you have the guys off the bench. Damian Jackson, Gabe Kapler, David McCarty, Doug Mirabelli. Everybody contributes. Our bullpen and our pitching staff too.
You have to be proud of us. You have to be proud of this team and want this team to do well. Even if I'm the media, I want this team to do well. This isn't like the old teams where you had some jerks in the clubhouse. You have to want this team to do well and you have to pull for this team. You have to love it.
We don't make it easy on ourselves. There's games we should win that we lose. But you know what? That's all part of it.
Kevin Millar's diary appears as told to MLB.com reporter Ian Browne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.