MLB Network hosts going to the CMAs

October 18th, 2018

HOUSTON -- Beyond the cowboy hat he's already picked out, Kevin Millar has been looking for suggestions for what to wear the night of the Country Music Awards. There's some pressure, obviously, given that he coined the phrase "Cowboy Up" 14 years ago during the Red Sox's mad dash to their first World Series title in 86 years, making it that much more imperative that he wind up as a "fashion do" when he attends the awards show in Nashville, Tenn.

Maybe Millar, a star on MLB Network, has already consulted his guests for the evening about what to wear. Two lucky winners are set to attend the CMAs, courtesy of MLB Network, as special guests of two of the Network's most popular hosts -- Millar and former Major League pitcher Al Leiter -- on Wednesday, which will air on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.

Country music is a favorite genre among a large population of ballplayers, and several of today's biggest names in country music once had aspirations to grow up to be ballplayers.

In that respect, the CMAs will be a good meeting spot.

"Whether it's Kevin and his cowboy boots or me in the car with the radio turned up, we all dream about being up on stage," Leiter said. "I am a huge country music fan, and I am excited to get the chance to invite a fellow fan to come to the [Country Music] Awards with Kevin and me."

The lucky winners will be spending time with two former players who have played a combined 1,846 games over 31 Major League seasons. Millar played for the Marlins, Red Sox, Orioles and Blue Jays during a 12-year career that extended from 1998-2009, and Leiter spent 19 Major League seasons with the Yankees, Blue Jays, Marlins and Mets from 1987-2005.

They have three World Series championships between them -- Leiter won with the Jays in 1993 and Marlins in '97, while Millar earned his ring with the Red Sox in 2004.

Many country stars have played in baseball stadium venues in the past, including the Zac Brown Band, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, the Eli Young Band, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt, Jon Pardi and Chris Stapleton. Chesney has said in the past that as a kid growing up nowhere near a Major League stadium in Tennessee, he got his baseball fix by watching the "Game of the Week" on Saturdays after taking in an episode of "This Week in Baseball."

As a result, Chesney was exposed to a slew of Reds and Red Sox games. Maybe that's why he and Millar are such good friends today. They may even meet up when they're in Nashville for the award.

"I'm sure we're going to have some fun down there, you know what I'm saying?" Millar said on an episode of "Intentional Talk." "Yee-haw!"