Sunday, August 08, 2004

Cowboy Down

In one of the most unbelievable stories I've read this year (and amazingly, it's coming out of Boston), Kevin Millar was so irate about not being in the starting lineup yesterday against the Tigers that David Ortiz had to coral the loquacious Bruce Springsteen impersonator away from an assemblage of reporters before he stuck his foot in his oversized yap.

Lucky for Millar, he plays on the same team with Manny Ramirez, who came down with some form of the Martian flu and had to be scratched from the game -- and Millar's name was penciled in.

Millar made no secret of his anger, lashing out at what he characterized as a prolonged run of inconsistency in the lineup. He became so angry that David Ortiz tried to ease him away from a small group of reporters, only for Millar to continue unleashing his frustration.

Then came another surprising development. Less than 45 minutes before the game, the Sox announced that Manny Ramirez, who had not appeared ill while chatting amiably with reporters and teammates in the clubhouse or during batting practice, was scratched from the lineup with flu-like symptoms.
What's worse is that Millar tries to rationalize his numskullery not as selfishness, but as an effort to give this team the best chance to win:

Millar insisted his pregame anger was aimed at furthering the team's goals, not his.

"This isn't me being selfish," he said. "It's when my teammates come up to me and go, `What's going on?' They want me in the lineup.

"It's a team, it's a family."
And just to show that in addition to being an awful baseball player he also has an equally firm grasp on the English language, he makes the following observation:

"I'm not going to be lied to," Millar said. "I'm not going to be lack-of-communicated to. I wasn't told I was on the bench. I didn't know that was the situation. I didn't know they traded for [Mientkiewicz] to be the everyday first baseman."
Well if it's one thing I can't stand it's being "lack-of-communicated to." Are you kidding me? And what's more amazing is that he didn't think that the first base position was a defensive liability prior to the trade (to be fair, I didn't think it was only because Dave McCarty should have been there from the start, but I'm guessing that's not the point Millar was making).

I remember hearing last season that Grady Little did an unbelievable job of ego-management (disregarding how you feel he did as a field manager) and I wonder if Francona had any idea how much of his time would be spent dealing with all these nut jobs in the Red Sox clubhouse. In my opinion, Millar is lucky to have any job in organized baseball and if he's truly sincere about helping this team win, he should do the right thing and either offer to coach first base or serve as backup bullpen catcher. Cowboy Up that.