Almost 15 years ago, the school had just been renamed “Milken” and they’d never had a baseball team. Our jerseys, ordered before the name change, said “Stephen Wise.” We were a pretty ragtag bunch, the first ever team the school had fielded. The coach knew a bit about baseball and a lot about yelling, the assistant coaches were former Chatsworth baseball coaches who spent most of their time making fun of us, and most of us would have no business playing on a “varsity” team at any other high school.
We had a miserable first few games, but we somehow — by the skin of our teeth — managed to win a few games and make the playoffs that first year. For a school that (at least athletically speaking) prided itself on its basketball and water polo teams, the baseball team making the playoffs was a big deal. Who cares that we got crushed in the first round?
The baseball program now looks like a serious thing. The team is graduating six seniors this year, and most of them have racked up some respectable career stats (99 stolen bases for one, a pair of consecutive no-hitters for another). Even better, they made it to the Southern Section Division 7 championships. They got beat, but they seem to have played a respectable game.
I don’t know any of these players, and my only connection to them is that I was the starting second baseman 15 years ago, when we managed to not suck just enough to make the playoffs. Nonetheless, I’m still proud of the 2010 Milken Wildcats, Southern Section Division 7 runners-up. Way to go, gentlemen. You’ve come a long way.