Either the head coaching job for the West Fargo Patriots is a very sought after position, or most coaches filling the spot haven't been the right fit.
Either way, it seems this time around that the powers that be with West Fargo Baseball have found themselves a keeper in Shannon Miller, the third coach to fill the spot in the last three seasons.
Most Patriots coaches would be thrilled with the 25-21 record the team had at press time earlier this week, but not so with Miller. The coach envisions more than just a winning record, and why not? The man is used to winning, after guiding the Aces to two section titles the last two seasons.
Miller has most of the very same Aces players competing for him now as Patriots, so he expected improvement. The Patriots started out hot this season with a 14-6 record but have been 11-15 since. Not the kind of progression Miller was hoping for, and he's not trying to sugarcoat it either.
"I thought with the talent we had that a 10-15 loss season was reasonable," said Miller. "I, myself, think we've underperformed. I think that 21 losses is unacceptable for any season. I think if I say that's okay that's not the attitude or the mentality they hired or wanted."
The coach also referred to the program's history, and it's no secret it's one that hasn't seen a lot of success, especially in recent years. Yet, even as the Patriots are having one of their best seasons in a while, Miller isn't satisfied. And that's a good thing.
Local baseball fans may do a double take when they read that the West Fargo Patriots actually have a winning record as the season winds down.
Anyone who has followed the Patriots through the years knows they don't normally have the kind of pitching they're putting on the mound these days. The Patriots aren't usually the kind of team to run all over opponents on the base paths, and the ball club doesn't have a history of starting seasons strong like it did this year. Key hits with runners on? Not often a thing of the past, but certainly a thing of the present and future.
Barring disaster, the team will finish the season above .500, and that's more than a good start for the Miller era and a huge deal for the West Fargo baseball scene.
Miller also takes over the team at just the right time. Not only does he have a roster of talented players that he helped develop, but the incoming talent isn't too shabby either. He'll soon inherit a group of players that made the Little League World Series two years ago and then repeated the feat with a trip to the Babe Ruth World Series last season.
No one can argue that with that kind of talent being led by a coach that believes in nothing short of success, that the future isn't bright around here come summer time. The Patriots are sitting pretty with an experienced assistant as well in former Fargo Post 2 coach Bill Ibach.
Miller clearly wasn't just talking about the rest of this season earlier this week when he said, "Our best baseball is still ahead of us."