Orioles ready for Opening Day

Millar: Orioles are ready for Opening Day

Kevin Millar, known as a clubhouse wit in Boston and Florida, will be keeping a diary with MLB.com during his first season as an Oriole. In the third installment, the first baseman/outfielder/DH talks about the approach of Opening Day and some extracurricular activity within the clubhouse.

I think everybody right now is champing at the bit to get to Baltimore and Camden Yards. Spring Training can get a little winded after you get to the middle of March. It becomes tough mentally just to stay focused, and I think players grind these last five days out. They're really looking forward to Opening Day, and April 3 is a different light switch. You can throw away all the spring stats. If you want to know someone's track record, look at the back of a baseball card.

I know there are at least a few guys reading this diary. I know that Brian Roberts likes to go home and get on all the Web sites to look at all the articles. He and Jay Gibbons are roommates, and they like to give me a hard time, and they filter it down to Jeff Conine during our stretch. That's just the way it is. But don't drink Haterade. Drink Powerade.

As far as pranks, there hasn't been anything crazy yet. But there's a lot of road trips coming up now, and we're getting ready to go through a 162-game marathon. In Spring Training, everybody's on their own program and their own schedule, but we've got some funny guys. I'm looking forward to seeing what they've got.

I always get shirts made throughout the season -- a lot of locker-room stuff, things that you really can't wear outside the clubhouse. We always have fun with that. On Tuesday, I was eating at the Capital Grille, and my agents got me a hat that said "Pimp Daddy #15" on it. So I asked them where they got it made, and I went over there. It just started flowing, and I got a bunch of hats for a bunch of the guys.

They've got some pretty funny sayings on them, but a lot are unprintable. We'll have fun with it. I wanted to get one for everyone on the team, but it was 9:48 p.m. and the mall had actually shut down at 9:00. The guy was falling asleep while he was doing them, and he cut me off. I'll go back and get the rest of the guys something down the line.

Now that Leo Mazzone is inked up, Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo's probably next on the tattoo hit list. I'm eyeing him. I think he's definitely got the potential. He's an Italian guy, a tough guy, and we've got to get him in the mix. And once you're in, you can't get out. Leo was down there for 10 minutes and he was already talking about the Fighting Irish tattoo he wants to get next year. I might have to persuade Sammy a little bit, but I think he may have an Italian flag tattoo in his future.

This group is becoming closer. They're starting to understand that this is going to be a fun year. We're going to smile, we're going to play the game hard and play the game right -- pick each other up through the tough times. I'm just another player here, but I want some of these guys to know how special they are. Rodrigo Lopez has won 15 games twice in the last four years. It's time for him to win 20.

spring training 2006
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Daniel Cabrera, I love. What a great kid. We've gotten to be very close in the short time I've been here. I sat next to him on the bench in a few games I wasn't playing. We've stretched together and we've talked. He asks questions and he wants to succeed. He wants to make the adjustments. And I want him to understand that nobody wants to face him. I was on the other side, and I was in the mix of guys saying the same stuff.

Erik Bedard, same thing. I want to let him know that he's the baddest left-hander in the league. Period. Nobody's got better stuff than him, and I believe that. You've got Johan Santana, Randy Johnson and Erik Bedard. I think he's in the same category, stuff-wise. Believe that. David Ortiz doesn't want to face him, and he comes back saying how nasty he is. Erik doesn't know they're saying that, but I'm here to let him know.

I told Sam I can be the team's emergency catcher, and I just wanted him to be aware of that, in case he got in a bind. Things go on during a season. If something happens behind the plate, a lot of the time, they don't know who's ever caught or who likes to catch. I love it. Put me in there. I learned the position back in Instructional League in '95 or '96.

John Boles, who was the Florida Marlins' farm director and ended up being a manager, told me, "Listen. If you learn how to catch, it's a good way to make a big-league team." I took his advice and learned, and I've always been the emergency catcher on all the teams I've played for. I've never caught an inning in the big leagues and never had to, but I can definitely catch in an emergency. Just plug me in there for a few innings and call someone up from Triple-A after the game.

Kevin Millar's diary appears as told to Spencer Fordin, a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.