By: Director of Athletic Communications and Public Relations Kevin Ruple
BEREA, Ohio -- When Brent Miles '97 attended Baldwin Wallace University in the mid-1990s, he was a solid student-athlete who earned Academic All-Ohio Athletic Conference honors on the basketball court for legendary Hall of Fame Coach Steve Bankson.
"Brent was a hard-working, intelligent young man who was mature beyond his years," said Bankson at the time of Miles' graduation. "He is going to go on to do great things."
Today, Brent Miles is part owner and president of a two of three minor league baseball franchises on the west coast, including the Tri-City Dust Devils, a single-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, of the Northwest League in Pasco, Washington, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in Rancho Cucamonga, California and the High Desert Mavericks in Adelanto, California. Both California teams are teams in the California A-League.
The trio of baseball franchises as well as a minor league hockey franchise, the Spokane (Wash.) Chiefs are part of a four-team group operated by the famed Brett Brothers, including brothers George (Major League Baseball Hall of Fame) and Ken Brett (now deceased) as well as Bobby Brett and JD Brett. The Dust Devils also are a short-season Class A team and do not start their season until mid-June, so Miles is currently preparing for that operation to begin play.
"I began working for the Brett's in Spokane with the Spokane Indians and it has been a great relationship and I've learned so much from them," said Miles, who lives just outside of Pasco with the corporate offices in Spokane.
"The Brett's, in particular Managing Partner Bobby Brett, have been great mentors," said Miles, who grew up in Wellsville, New York prior to his time at BW. "Bobby is a business genius. I tease him and call him the "mad scientist" because of his creative ideas and deals that he is constantly creating. He is a genius at lease negotiations and creating partnerships with our communities to help with capital improvements at our stadiums."
Miles has been a member of the Brett Team for the past 24 years and originally became involved with baseball while doing a summer internship at BW.
The Best Part of the Job
"The best part is that I go to work every day at a ballpark," said Miles with a chuckle. "I don't go to work, I go to the ballpark. I enjoy it almost every day.
"I enjoy what I do," continued Miles, who has been married to Janel for eight years, who he met while working for the Dust Devils, and they have two children, five year-old Max, and three year-old Vivi. "It is extremely rewarding and fun to be involved in baseball and to be able to work with people from our community.
The Tough Part of the Job
"The older I become, the more challenging it gets because of the hours involved," said Miles. "When I was young and single and in my 20s and early 30s, it was easier to balance," said Miles. "But the older I become, it is tougher to be away from my family.
"The key is that everyone in a family needs to buy into the minor league baseball atmosphere," said Miles. "My wife and kids love coming to the ballpark and watching the games, so that's really been a good thing that we can enjoy together."
An Interesting BW Twist
Three years ago, the Padres sent Miles a player that he became familiar with quickly due the college he attended. The player was 2016 BW graduate Mark Zimmerman (Akron), who is now in his third season of minor league baseball after being an All-American and OAC Player of the Year while with the Yellow Jackets.
"Mark has a ton of talent," said Miles. "He is a pitcher who throws in the low-90s and has excellent movement. Mark is an athlete who is definitely on our radar."
At the end of his first season in the minors, a season he split between short-season-A Tri-City and and low-A Lake Elsinore (Calif.), Zimmerman was invited to play in the Padres "Futures" Game at Petco Park in San Diego. It is an honor not many first-year minor leaguers receive.
"Mark deserved the opportunity, and has progressed each season in the minors," said Miles. "We'll have to see where he goes once both the major and minor league training camps break up."
Major League Aspirations
Miles does not have aspire to be in big-time, Major League Baseball, at least not at this time.
"Minor league baseball fits my life and personality and I really enjoy it," said Miles regarding if he had MLB aspirations. "Major League Baseball is more of a suit & tie industry and big business. The minor leagues are different and the emphasis is more on the community and the family and having fun. I played baseball before college and it has been an easy transition in my life and for my family."
Miles' BW Memory
"I really enjoyed my four years at BW, and I really think I developed as a person," said Miles. "I made a lot of great friends, both as a basketball student-athlete and as a student who I stay in contact with today. Although I haven't been back to campus recently, I would love to bring my family to BW and Berea to see all of the great changes to the campus. I hear it is as beautiful as ever!"