March 2014

Inside the Core: Andrew Milios

MiliosTop“Inside the Core” is a month-long interview series with members of the Fresno Grizzlies front office. Each interview will be unique in its own way and provide a glimpse into the path each member has forged on their way to working for the club.

Q: When did you move to California from your birthplace in Arizona?

Andrew Milios: I moved to California when I was only about four or five years old.

Q: Where did you attend high school in the area?

AM: I went to Woodcreek High School, which is in Roseville, and about 20 minutes north of Sacramento.

Q: What types of extra-curricular activities did you get involved with?

AM: I always loved to participate in sports, but I mainly loved to play baseball.

Q: What positions did you play?

AM: In baseball I pitched and also played outfield.

Q: Did you have a favorite baseball player or team?

AM: To be honest I can’t say that I have ever had a favorite baseball player. However, I have always been a die-hard Giants fan. My dad is from the Bay Area so he kind of taught us the ways of the orange and black.

Q: What would you say your favorite childhood memory was?

AM: Just getting to go to baseball games with the family. We all love baseball. We did tailgating, the whole nine. We grew up going to Candlestick Park so it was dirty and freezing cold, but that’s what I remember about going. We used to either tailgate or bring in our own food, because you could do that back then.

Q: What was your first part-time job?

AM: I was a busser at a restaurant in the Sacramento area. I started bussing tables, then I changed over to retail, and I also did construction. After that I became a server for the quick easy money in college.

Q: What did you see yourself doing right after high school?

AM: Going to college. It wasn’t even really a second thought; just wanted to go to college and delay getting a real job as long as possible (laughs).

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Q: You graduated from Cal State Monterey Bay, what was your major?

AM: Communications. I had no idea what I wanted to do so it was either business or communications. Business had too much math and I am not good at math so I stuck with communications.

Q: Tell us about your college experience there.

AM: Go Otters! I enjoyed college a lot. I took full advantage of being in college in all aspects. I made sure I focused on school and got my degree, but I also enjoyed the other parts of college life, the friends, parties, and social aspects. Baseball was an important part of college for me and I really enjoyed playing through my last year of school.

Q: How was it living in the Bay Area for that time in your life?

AM: It was awesome. We were right on the beach. I grew up in the suburbs, then for junior college I lived up in the mountains at a town with only 5,000 people, and then I moved over to Monterey. In coming (to Fresno) and having lived in Arizona out in the desert, I’ve pretty much covered all types of landscapes.

Q: What was it like moving to Fresno after being in a coastal area?

AM: Hot. It was really hot, but I don’t mind it. You make of it what you will. If you look at the bad, that’s what you’re going to get out of it. If you practice looking at the good things in life, the good places and the good people, you can live anywhere, no matter how hot or cold.

Q: Did you consider anyone a role model in your life?

AM: Not one person specifically, just mainly my family. Everyone kind of played their role and had a part in my life, but the closest would be my mom, dad, and sister. They were always good examples and no matter what I did they were there to support me.

Q: Is your wife from the Fresno area?

AM: No, actually she’s from Quincy, which is a town of 5,000 people. She was going to junior college there and so was I. After that, she went to San Luis Obispo and I went to Monterey to finish school. She moved to Fresno after my first year with the Grizzlies.

Q: Where did you two meet?

AM: A mutual friend introduced us at a fundraiser in college. I remember before I really knew her seeing her at college football games and parties, too.

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Q: Since baseball has played a large role in your life, what was it like taking your one-year-old daughter to her first baseball game?

AM: She was all over the place! The baseball game kind of became something else; it really wasn’t about the game at that point. It was fun for my wife and I because we both love baseball and we plan on bringing our kids to a lot of games. It kind of goes back to me with my family and enjoying time together at the baseball stadium. We love the noise, the smells, the good stuff and bad stuff. For a parent, those ‘firsts’ are what you always remember. The first San Francisco Giants game with our daughter we spent more time walking around the park than actually watching the game. I put her on the big Coca-Cola slide and I went down with her because she was too little to go on her own.

Q: So you’d like to continue the baseball tradition with your kids?

AM: Yes, definitely. Hopefully our daughter will like sports, but whatever she’s passionate about we will support. As long as we’re together as a family that’s all that really matters. As she gets older it will be more about the game and what’s going on down on the field, but until that time it’s more or less just getting her acclimated to the baseball environment and trying to have her love the game like we do.

Q: What is something that you like to do on your own free time now?

AM: It’s all family. Whether it’s going to the park or going out to eat. We do a lot of play dates and going out to other kids’ birthday parties. It seems like there is something going on every weekend. We like going on walks over at Woodward Park (North Fresno), to the playground, or the dog park. All free time outside of work is devoted to time with the kid, the wife, and other extended family when they’re in town.

Q: Being a devoted family man, did you envision still being around baseball at this point in your life?

AM: Well I was hoping it would be as a player (laughs). I found out pretty early on that I was going to be able to maybe play some college ball and that was about it. I didn’t even think about working in baseball for a job.

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Q: How do you like overseeing sales for the Grizzlies?

AM: I love it. I love the people I work with and dealing with the community around us. We’re working for the most part with people who love baseball. When you find people who have a common interest as you do it makes it easier to come to work every day. A bad day here is better than most good days somewhere else. Hopefully I can do this the rest of my life, but if that’s not the case, I’ll be very sad if I ever have to leave this type of environment. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Q: If there’s something that you could leave behind what would that be?

AM: I definitely don’t have an exact motto I live by; I simply try to enjoy what I do. I think that in everything you do, you will get out of it what you put in to it. If you’re really going to commit to something, go all in and you will get that in return. If you half-ass it, you’re going to get that kind of result. You can take that to any job I think.

Q: If you can use one word to describe yourself, what would it be?

AM: I would really have to say goofy. I mean there are plenty of times where I will get serious because the job needs to get done. Some things aren’t always nice or happy, but I’m lighthearted and I just try to enjoy what I do and the people I work with as much as possible. Again, this may not be forever so you want to enjoy it.

Q: We noticed you’ve been recognized with a few awards for your accomplishments. Which one has meant the most?

A: I’ve received a few recognitions, but I’d probably point to Business Street “40 under 40.” That meant a lot to me. My big thing is whether I am here for another 50 years or five, I’d like to leave this place as successful as possible. You don’t stick around for as long as you have and gone through some of the things (the Grizzlies) have gone through without being committed and all in. I think there are a couple of us that have pretty much thrown our name in the hat and it’s staying there for a while. We’re going to make sure we leave this place better than when we got here.

Inside the Core: Chris Wilson

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“Inside the Core” is a month-long interview series with members of the Fresno Grizzlies front office. Each interview will be unique in its own way and provide a glimpse into the path each member has forged on their way to working for the club. 

Q: Having lived in Fresno since you were born, have you ever been tempted to change locations?

CW: Yes, I actually have. Following my last position in education back in 2012, I left for an internship with the San Jose Sabercats of the Arena Football League. I got a job within the football operations department where I basically did the job of a scout at their training facility. I studied film of incoming players or players who had been cut from NFL Rosters. I did that for three months until I got called for a full-time job back here with the Fresno Grizzlies.

Q: How did you feel about coming back to Fresno?

CW: It was bittersweet to be honest, because I was looking for that experience to branch out and try something new. But, it also felt good knowing that I was returning to a good support system. I had interned at Grizzlies in 2011 so it was very familiar coming back.

Q: What about Fresno resonates with you the most?

CW: Family. I have a relatively small family so I’ve always looked to my group of friends as my extended family. Fresno for me has always been home. Also, I think Fresno State is a big factor in my life because I’m an alumnus there and it’s a big sense of pride. I was the first person to graduate high school from my mother’s side of the family and the first person to graduate college from either side.

Q: Who was your hero growing up?

CW: My dad as far as family goes. He was a humble, hardworking guy. He was a mechanic his whole life and worked two jobs at times to support the family. I think my work ethic and humility come from him. On the flip-side my grandfather on my mom’s side was the sports nut. He was the one who followed baseball and all types of sports. He inspired my competitive nature and ultimately got me really into sports.

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Q: As a kid, what did you think you’d grow up to be?

CW: As a kid, actually other than sports, I was addicted to marine biology. I always wanted to swim with Shamu or something. I loved the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I wanted to work with animals in the ocean. I had a passion for being close to the beach.

Q: Can you describe your best childhood memory?

CW: When I was about 13 years old I got to go on an RV trip from Fresno all the way to Galveston, Texas with my grandparents and two cousins. For 33 days I was in a motorhome traveling across the United States. It was my first time out of California. The highlight of the entire trip was getting to visit NASA in Houston. It really inspired all of the creative juices that got me into wanting to further my life and education.

Q: Where did you go to high school?

CW: I went to Edison High School (Fresno, Calif). I was in a program called G.A.T.E., which stood for Gifted and Talented Education.

Q: Did you participate in any extracurricular activities?

CW: Yes, I played football and baseball all the way through high school. I also participated in journalism briefly with the student newspaper writing for the sports section my sophomore and junior year. I started working at the age of 16 at Carl’s Jr. so there wasn’t much time for anything else.

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Q: How would you describe your college experience?

CW: I had a different college experience than most. Out of high school I thought I was done with school. I went to the military briefly and I was medically separated. I came back and started working. Then I decided a couple of years later that I needed to go back to school. I didn’t start college until I was 21, but I was really honed in on what I was trying to accomplish. I didn’t do a lot of partying or anything like that. I really got in the zone with school and not only completed my bachelors, but also received my masters degree in a little over five years.

Q: Is it right you initially pursued a kinesiology major before switching majors?

CW: I started college thinking that I was going to do something in the field of pharmacy. That quickly changed after I took a couple classes. From there, I wanted to get into physical therapy. I always had a passion or interest in the medical field. I thought it would be a fun, good-paying job. I started doing kinesiology and after two years of doing exercise science, I decided that my mind was more business and people savvy than scientific, so I switched to sports administration. That allowed me to be comfortable and more me.

Q: What encouraged you to get your graduate degree?

CW: I always knew that I wanted to pursue something beyond a bachelors degree when I was in college. I think a bachelors degree is not as powerful as it once was. Another reason is I felt once I started working in the industry, I would be so consumed that I probably wouldn’t have time go back and get it later. I have always had a passion for education. I worked in education before sports for about six years and having the ability to go back and teach is something I now have the ability to do.

Q: Now a little removed from college, did you ever imagine yourself in the position you’re in now?

CW: Yea, I think so. The moment that I committed to a sports administration degree I knew that I was going to do something in sports. I didn’t know exactly what, but I always felt passion of working with the game, athletes, a coaching staff, things like that.

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Q: As you move forward, what are some goals you’ve set for yourself?

CW: I think baseball or sport operations is the career field I want to go into, so I really want to work towards learning that craft, and hopefully get into a position where I can progress to Director of Baseball Operations. This season is my first year as baseball operations coordinator so right now it’s really about learning the lingo, the trade, and getting used to how everything runs.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in your new role as Baseball Operations Coordinator where your main duty will be Visiting Clubhouse Manager?

CW: For me, it’s learning. I have a dedication to learning and I believe this isn’t the last stop on my road. I think that learning the ins and outs of this job is very important for my future. I’m really excited about what my role will be like a few years down the road.

Q: What is your favorite part about your job?

CW: This is tough, because I love my job but I would say my favorite part is the fact of getting to be around sports every day. I think there’s something special about sports beyond what’s between the lines. Being around the atmosphere is rewarding, but it can also be very consuming with your life and a lot of times you have to spend long hours, long nights, and early mornings around work. There’s no 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  that’s for sure. You have to try and squeeze in time with family and friends as best you can.

Q: Any experiences that shaped who you are?

A: There is one thing. I did a lot of coaching and my very first season coaching I did really bad. My teams weren’t very good. I coached my first football team and I think we only won one game. The following season I coached basketball and I ended up breaking my arm in practice. That basketball season we finished the season 21-5. There’s just something humbling about getting knocked down and then being able to pick yourself up by the boot straps and come back and still be a leader. So I think as far as my career goes I think one of my strongest traits is being a leader.

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Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

CW: I still love to participate in sports. I play indoor soccer currently and in the past I’ve played in a baseball league. I still often play basketball, football, and also lift weights and stay active.

Q: If you were to describe yourself in one word what would it be?

A: Confident

Q: What is a quote that resonates with you?

CW: “Success is not final, failure is never fatal, but its courage that counts.” – Winston Churchill. It’s a quote that reminds me, do not get to high on your successes, don’t get too low on your failures, and just be brave and have courage.

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