By Cristina Galvan
Adan Millan is an assistant baseball coach at East Los Angeles College with a passion for baseball that started at a young age.
He was born and raised in East Los Angeles. As a child, he enjoyed playing outdoors with his friends where they would play different sports such as football and baseball.
“Once I started playing baseball, I stopped playing other sports,” said Millan.
One day at the age of ten, during a trip to the park, he saw a sign saying that there were baseball sign-ups and he immediately asked his father to sign him up.
“My heart was broken,” said Millan when he found out that all the teams were fillled up.
He was placed on a waiting list, but he did not have to wait long to hear from the recruiter. The next day he got a call from a coach telling him there was room for him to join a baseball team.
Looking back now, Millan does not know if he would of continued playing baseball if he had never received that call. After graduating from Schurr High School, Millan was not sure whether to play baseball for East Los Angeles College or for Cerritos College. For two years he played for Cerritos College, and later went on to play for Cal State Fullerton for another two years.
Then the Philadelphia Phillies drafted him in the 28th round. There he played for the Phillies’s Triple-A team, which is the level before the major leagues.
Playing for the Phillies was “one of the greatest experiences of my life,” said Millan.
Being a professional player was always one of his goals. He considers himself lucky to have played professional baseball.
Millan said he got to play “during a very interesting time in professional baseball.”
He also said, “There was a lot to see and a lot to learn.”
From 1994-1999 he played with the Phillies until the middle of the 1999 season when the manager called him into his office and told him the Phillies were releasing him.
Millan said he was “pretty devastated” when released.
Besides being devastated, he was “confused because (he) had done well with them,”said Millan.
After playing for the Phillies, Millan signed with the Leigh Valley Black Diamonds in Pennsylvania. This is when his coaching career started.
“I never thought I would actually be a coach,” said Millan.
Some of the teams he coached were the JV division at Pasadena Polytech. He also helped coach baseball at Cerritos College where he once played.
“After those two years were over, I still had the itch to play,” said Millan.
It was then that he played his last season of professional baseball with the Long Beach Breakers in 2002. Here he got to play baseball with guys that he grew up with and knew in high school and college.
The Breakers were champions of their division, but lost the league championship. Steve Yeager, former Dodger catcher, was the team manager.
“I got to pick his brain, learn more about catching,” said Millan.
Once Millan finished his last season playing professional baseball in 2002, he was offered a job at ELAC by James Hines and Al Cone.
He accepted the job at ELAC because it was a good opportunity and because ELAC was like his backyard. “I was born and raised in East L.A.,” said Millan.
This is Millan’s seventh season at ELAC.
He says he likes the athletes he coaches. “They remind me of me getting out of high school. I have a connection with these kids,” said Millan.
Baseball players think highly of Millan and have learned a lot from his experience on the field. Walter Aguilar said that Millan is the best coach he has had for catching and hitting.
Aguilar said, “(Coach Millan) has a great knowledge of the game, good personality, and always speaks the truth.”
Ruben Ramirez who has been playing baseball at ELAC for two years said that Millan is “a really, really good coach,” and that “if he sees you need work, he will work with you.”
Mistakes are unavoidable and Millan said that he tells his players that mistakes are going to happen but that they have to learn from them.
Ramirez said, “If you’re doing something wrong he’ll tell you,” but what he says is always for a purpose.
Millan considers himself to be a “pretty straight forward coach” who does not sugarcoat anything.
His players agree.
Baseball player Juan Vera said Millian is, “very straight forward” and that he “doesn’t sugarcoat things.”
Vera also said, “He tells you what to do and how to do it.”
Aside from being a tough coach, his players say he is fun.
“When it comes to being on the field he’s a serious guy, but he can also be funny,” said Vera.
Ramirez said, “He’s fun to be around, makes it interesting, but still gets work done.”
Being a professional player gives Millan insight on how to coach and has helped him help players at ELAC.
“I love what I do,” said Millan.
Aside from coaching at ELAC, he also coaches community youth. Being a professional player gave Millan many incredible memories he will never forget.
“I have so many memories that sometimes I still dream about them,” said Millan.
All the people he met and friendships he created are part of those memories. He likes how he and other baseball players “respect and understand each other.”
Millan said, “The experience (and) the memories are priceless.”
One of the biggest hardships that Millan endured during his career was when he was cut from the Phillies. But he did not let this get in his way and he focused on his dream of playing for the major leagues.
“Baseball is a lot like life. Life is a lot like baseball. Not everything is gonna work out,” said Millan.
The Dodgers are Millan’s favorite baseball team.
He remembers going to Dodger games when he was a child and being amazed at the size of the field, “I always pictured myself playing on that field,” said Millan.
Aside from coaching baseball, Millan also likes reading baseball books, whether it is on baseball’s history or comedies.
“I could be a total baseball junkie,” said Millan.
He also enjoys fishing, but has not gone in a long time. Baseball is something that will never get boring for Millan.
“The older I’ve gotten, my appreciation for the game keeps on growing,” he said.