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Kevin Millar played an integral part in helping the Boston Red Sox break the “Curse of the Bambino” in 2004, coming back from 3-0 to defeat the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series on their way to winning the team’s first World Series since 1918.
Millar played for the Red Sox from 2003 to 2005. In the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees, he hit .250 with a .754 OPS and scored four runs.
The World Series champion got truly acclimated to the timeless tradition of the Red Sox playing the Neil Diamond classic “Sweet Caroline” in the middle of the eighth inning during his time with Boston. Millar, now an analyst on MLB Network and a co-host of “Intentional Talk,” told Fox News Digital in a recent interview he believes singing the tune at Fenway Park is one of the best traditions in sports.
Kevin Millar, left, of the Red Sox, with teammate Manny Ramirez. (Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
“When I was in the minor leagues we had ‘Put Me in Coach.’ And that was really cool. Then, all of a sudden, I became a Red Sock and in the bottom of the eighth inning, when they started playing ‘Sweet Caroline,’ I don’t think there’s anything better,” Millar said.
“The entire stadium is sold out. Little kids, moms, dads, grandparents singing. It is such an awesome tradition. When the music stops and the fans and the crowds take over to the rest of that song, it’s what it’s all about. I just think that there’s nothing better in all of sports, especially in baseball stadiums, with that theme, in that song.”
Millar teamed up with Twisted Tea to promote the alcoholic beverage’s new flavor, Twisted Tea Sweet Cherry Lime. He said it’s the perfect companion to go with the song in the eighth.
Boston acquired Millar from the Florida Marlins in February 2003 before the Marlins beat the Yankees in the World Series later that year. That year, Aaron Boone hit a walk-off home run off Tim Wakefield in the championship series to send New York to the World Series.
Millar said baseball fans on the East Coast bring a different passion to the ballpark, and it’s partly why it makes Fenway Park one of the best places to play baseball.
Kevin Millar, left, and Manny Ramirez of the Red Sox take a victory lap around the field following the Red Sox’ series-clinching extra inning victory. (Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
“They don’t leave until the ninth inning, the last out. The Red Sox control that town. The New England Patriots, when I was up there, they won two Super Bowls out of the three years I was there. We win the World Series in ’04, break this curse. I was in the middle of this most amazing winning city. Then the Celtics and Doc Rivers were there, the Boston Bruins. You just don’t realize until you’re there what a great town (it is). I think we had about 3 million people at our parade. It’s like this family,” Millar told Fox News Digital.
“That’s the one thing I didn’t realize is what an amazing family the Red Sox and being a part of that organization is. When I go back to Boston, there’s a story, there’s a hug, there’s a thank you, and all we were doing was playing baseball and doing our job. Then you get a chance to, when you’re done playing, realize the lives that you’ve touched.
“David Ortiz turned into Big Papi right in front of our eyes, became a first-ballot Hall of Famer and just dominated life and hitting good pitching and beating the Yankees and home run after home run. It’s just the passion that they bring. There’s nothing more special than Fenway Park, walking out of that dugout, seeing the Green Monster and Ted Williams and all the great players that were before you. You can really soak it in because there’s not many old stadiums left.”
Johnny Damon (18) of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated by Kevin Millar (15), Bill Mueller (11) and Orlando Cabrera (44) after hitting a grand slam in the second inning against the New York Yankees during Game 7 of the American League Championship Series Oct. 20, 2004 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
He finished his career with a .274 batting average and 170 home runs.