Millar's musings: Things looking up
O's first baseman excited about team's prospects for summer
Kevin Millar, long known as one of the most affable players in the league, kept a regular diary for MLB.com in Spring Training and has maintained his unfiltered communication throughout the regular season. In this installment of his diary, Millar wraps up the season's first half and touches on his team's chances of remaining competitive for the rest of the year.
Bottom line, this team has definitely opened the eyes of everyone around baseball. I think we've been as competitive as we can be to this point and we've been in every game, and there's no doubt in my mind that the biggest difference has been the arms in the bullpen. Jim Johnson deserves a ton of credit for what he's done this year. Dennis Sarfate has been key, and so was Matt Albers up until the point he got hurt. George Sherrill's second in the league in saves.
All of that combined equals competitiveness. Now, all of a sudden, we can play a six- or seven-inning game. We can compete from the eighth inning on, which we couldn't do last year at all. We could compete before, but we'd get blasted from the sixth through the ninth. And honest to God, I don't think there's an individual MVP on this club.
We really are a full-on 25-man team up to this point, and everybody deserves credit for our success. That goes from the 25th man all the way up to the top. Jeremy Guthrie has pitched his heart out this year. He doesn't have the wins to show for it, but it starts with him and goes all the way to Freddie Bynum and Brandon Fahey. It's been like that from Day 1.
This is just a tremendous mix. And it's hard to see when you're not involved in it, but the media gets to see it every day. This group has fun together and is starting to believe in each other. We're starting to believe there's light at the end of the tunnel. It's taken some time, sure. I've only been here two-plus years, but I know the difference that I've seen from 2006 to 2008. We don't have the superstars that you'd like to have, but do we need that guy? Only time will tell.
You can look around the league and see a lot of good stories going on without a superstar. It's almost become a change of the guard, and the parity in baseball that we've talked about since March is just awesome. It's great for baseball. I think there's 20 teams out of 30 right now that have a chance to make the playoffs. Nobody can tell me right now who's going to win the American League Central. Nobody can tell me right now who's going to win the American League East.
You can have an opinion, but there's the whole second half left. That's what makes it fun. There could be a Colorado Rockies clone that goes on to win 21 out of 22 games to finish the year. Everybody's in it, and we know we belong.
|"We've played solid baseball and we've been in every game. We've won some real pressure cooker games and we've lost some pressure cooker games, but we haven't gotten hot. And I think July and August is when we'll start scoring some runs."|
|-- Kevin Millar|
The only phrase we can use to describe our season is Orioles Magic. We've taken that song, which we used to make fun of and dread listening to, and now we look forward to hearing the flute as soon as that last out is made. We play for the flute. We play for Orioles Magic every single night, and the hats get ready to go up in tribute to George Sherrill. Guys want to see that video, and guys want to hear that song. It's a little weird, but don't sleep on Orioles Magic this year.
There are about seven guys in this clubhouse that can compete for the title of funniest guy in the room. Adam Jones is a good, young, funny guy, but you never give a guy a pedestal until he's got some dirt in his spikes. George Sherrill is hilarious in his own way. Aubrey Huff's body is the funniest by far. Luke Scott, the funniest journal-writer around. Everybody wants to take the journal and mess with him. Jeremy Guthrie's funny. Sneaky funny. Smart funny. Stanford funny.
But if I had to pick the funniest guy in the room, it's probably [pitching coach] Rick Kranitz. He does some funny things, but there are some things I can tell you and some things I can't. One day, he came out here with a bunch of cotton balls before the game and said, 'Here guys, put these in your ears. It's going to get a little loud hitting here.'
It's never my call in regards to what this team does at the Trade Deadline, but I hope we're not sellers. I hope we're buyers here and there. I don't know if we need a whole lot. Potentially, we already have five or six guys that could hit 20 home runs. Potentially, we've already got a rotation that can get streaky and reel off a bunch of wins in a row.
We've got a great closer and a great bullpen, and I just hope we're not sellers. Once again, I'm just an employee here. But we could add somebody here -- or a couple players -- because we're not out of it.
Our team is just solid, and the good thing is we haven't gotten on fire and we haven't gotten cold. We've played solid baseball and we've been in every game. We've won some real pressure cooker games and we've lost some pressure cooker games, but we haven't gotten hot. And I think July and August is when we'll start scoring some runs.
To do it, we'll have to stay fresh. Luke Scott mixes this protein drink that we call candy. It's blueberry, but he puts in apple sauce, berries and vinegar. Basically, it's an antioxidant health drink, but it makes you happy and makes you feel good. It's a great little mix to drink after batting practice, and you get bummed out when he's out of the ingredients. I learned my lesson when I got sick from following his health tips during Spring Training, but I'm giving him a second chance with the candy.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.