Aaron Miles has come full circle. He started out as a kid attending clinics put on by longtime Antioch High School coach John Whitman. He worked the clinics when he became a standout second baseman for Whitman. He parlayed his experience into a nine-year Major League Baseball career, including 2006 with the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Now retired as a player, Miles will once again be participating in a John Whitman baseball clinic -- this time on Dec. 29 at the Antioch Historical Society as part of the Antioch Sports Legends program.
"I was first introduced to John Whitman and his attention to detail at a young age," Miles said. "When I played for Whitman, we had to partake in putting on camps for him. Every player who played for him learned how to instruct, how to build a camp. He's just the ultimate teacher, the ultimate preparer. Whenever you see John Whitman's name on something, you know you're going to get 120 percent, the most you can get."
This clinic is for coaches rather than players. It will run 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration is under way at www.antiochsportslegends.com. Interested coaches may also contact Dave Sanderson at 925-437-8803 or at email@example.com. Cost is $25 on the day of the clinic.
Antioch Sports Legends, which includes a Hall of Fame, has been working on doing more community work. Earlier this year, a softball clinic was held. Whitman was recruited to do a baseball clinic, but he wanted to gear it to coaches, believing he could ultimately reach more players that way.
Whitman has recruited Brian Oliver -- Miles' old double-play partner with Antioch -- to come speak. Butch Rounsaville, Jay Heeb, Mike Luna and Larry Quirico are among the other scheduled speakers.
"Each speaker speaks for about an hour," Whitman said. "At the end of the hour, they hold a break out session where they go to another room. If anybody wants to ask a specific question, they can do it at that time. So you aren't eating up your presentation time."
Whitman, who now splits his time between Chandler, Ariz., and Lake Tahoe, said he has always been a student of the game. For instance, when Whitman was coaching at Los Medanos College, his team faced San Jose City College in a doubleheader.
"They ran us wild," Whitman said. "I asked the coach when we got done with the doubleheader, 'Who's in charge of your baserunning?'"
Turned out it was Luna, who now coaches at Mission College. Whitman ended up pumping Luna for information on how to better coach baserunning.
Which is exactly why Whitman continues to put on clinics.
"I wish I had this when I was a young coach, that I had access to coaches that are going to be speaking," he said.
Meantime, Miles has settled back in Brentwood. Turning 36 on Saturday, he said he still has the itch to play, but after not being able to catch on with a Major League team in 2012, he's realized that he'd rather spend time with his two children -- ages 5 and 8 -- rather than try to work his way back to the Majors. He spent last season in the Los Angeles Dodgers' minor league system.
"As a father of two and wanting to be around my children and not have the guarantee, I've been there and done that enough to let go," he said. "I played a little Triple-A ball last year and realized even if I had a good year, I'm still going to be in the same boat next year -- signing a Minor League deal, hoping to make the team. It's bittersweet because I miss it."
So, he's taking this next year off. After that, he'd like to get into coaching or managing or maybe broadcasting. Meantime, he's around to help out at the clinic. Just like old times.