Meet Cole Miller, New Bellingham Bells Outfielder

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On June 15th, 2021, outfielder Cole Miller played in his very first baseball game with the Bellingham Bells (Summer Collegiate Baseball Team that play in the West Coast League).   Cole went 1-4 at the plate with one run scored while playing some great defense in left field in helping his new summer league team to a 4-0 victory.  Cole Miller is one of the newest members of the Bells.  What is even more exciting is that he is from Mercer Island, Washington which is just a couple hours south of Bellingham.

Cole currently attends the University of Washington where he just finished up his redshirt freshman baseball season with the Huskies.  While playing outfield for the Washington Huskies in 2021, he saw action in 29 games and batted .239.

Seattle Sports Union was able to meet up with Cole Miller after a game which saw him go 1-4 at the plate with a double and got to learn more about this young rising star from Mercer Island, Washington.

SSU: Thank you for joining us tonight Cole Miller after a tough loss like that.  We are truly appreciative of you taking the time with us.  We know it is late and we will not take up much of your time.

CM: It is my pleasure guys, nice to meet you both.  It was a tough loss, but we will come back out tomorrow and go at it again and plan for a different outcome.

SSU: Welcome to the Bells!

CM: Thank you!  I love it here, this is awesome.  The crowd here is amazing.  I love the people here in Bellingham!

SSU:  So, this is your first week here, is that correct?

CM:  Yes, I got down here on Monday and we headed over to Port Angeles for a 3-game series before starting a home stand last night.  It has been nice to be able play in front of our home fans.  I will say it again, this has been extremely exciting for me.  I cannot stress that enough.

SSU: We are overly excited for you as well!  We at the Seattle Sports Union cover the smaller teams in the Pacific Northwest that do not get enough coverage as they deserve.  We saw that you were from the University of Washington, and we want big things for you so again welcome and thank you for chatting with us.  We see that you are from Mercer Island.  Is that where you grew up?

CM: Thank you for choosing me, that means a whole lot.  Yes, I was born and raised in Mercer Island.

SSU:  At what age did you become interested in baseball?

CM: I started playing around the age of 3.  I played with sister on her softball team, a 5 and under team.  My Dad played RF at the University of Washington under the legendary Baseball Coach Bob MacDonald.  I always have had a passion to play the game of baseball and have followed in my dad’s footsteps.  I have always looked up to my dad.

SSU:  Wow, thank you for sharing that, how awesome is that.  Have you always been an outfielder?  What other positions have you played?

CM: I started out as a shortstop before I became an outfielder.  Unfortunately, injuries kept me from playing baseball in 8th and 9th grade years, so I got behind on my infield skills.  Honestly, being moved to the outfield was the best thing to ever happen to me and my baseball career.  It is way more natural for me and I can utilize my speed more in the outfield.  I really enjoy it out in the outfield.  It is more fun for me to play out there in a sport that I genuinely love.

SSU:  Growing up it looks like you played Football as well as Baseball at Mercer Island High School.  What positions did you play on the football team?  Weren’t you All-Conference?

CM: I played Wide Receiver and Free Safety during my high school football days.  I made all-conference my last two years as a WR, Kick Returner and at DB.  I loved playing football in high school, but I was recruited early to play baseball and I stand by my decision to stick with baseball, one of the best decisions that I have ever made.

SSU:  Would you care to share any special moments from playing baseball growing up?

CM:  Absolutely I would love to!  My first one was from 2017 during my sophomore year.  Our baseball team made state and it was played at Safeco Field in Seattle.  We ended up finishing 3rd in State but being able to play at a Major League Baseball Stadium.  The atmosphere was electric, we were treated like professional baseball players.  It was a moment that I will always treasure.  Also, before our semi-final game, Adam Jones sent us a message (centerfield for the Baltimore Orioles).  Adam Jones played minor league baseball with our coach Dominic Woody.  He just pretty much sent us good luck.  It was a very inspirational message and it showed us how cool it was that it is possible to achieve anything we want if we put our minds to it including winning state.

My favorite moment was my senior year.  I was playing centerfield during the conference championship game against our archrivals Lake Washington.  Whoever won this game would advance the playoffs.  It was the bottom of the 7th and Lake Washington had runners on 2nd and 3rd with two outs.  We were up by one run.  A base knock right there would send Lake Washington to the playoffs.  Their number 3 hitter in the lineup was up.  He proceeded to hit a screaming line drive to centerfield to where I was able to make a diving catch to seal the ballgame and secure the conference championship.

SSU:  Congratulations, I can see why that was a special moment for you.  I read somewhere that you achieved a 3.98 Grade Point Average when you finished high school.  Is this true?  Nicely done if that is true 😊!

CM:  Something like that, thanks :).  I believe I finished with a 3.95 GPA when all was said and done.  I took my studies seriously.  You never know when baseball might end, and I needed a good backup plan.

SSU: We must ask why UDUB?  There is nothing wrong with the University, but why not other schools like Washington State or University of Oregon (We attended those two universities lol 😊). 

CM: That is a funny question lol.  For me I was recruited by other schools like Oregon State University, and I wanted to play Power 5 baseball.  University of Washington offered that as well as good academics.  It was close to home since I was from Mercer Island.  My Dad played baseball at the University of Washington.  I grew up as a Husky, so it was a perfect fit for me.  I have not looked back at the decision I made, and I am excited for the future holds.

SSU: So, what is with you and getting hit by a pitch?  Do you crowd the plate?  I am asking because you finished 5th in the Pac-12 is why I ask?  They had you at five hits by pitches for the 2021 season.  Do you like to lean in a little bit lol?

CM:  It is that football mentality lol in me.  No, it just seems to happen.  I like crowding the plate.  I am good at hitting outside pitches the other way and feel comfortable with my stance on the dish.  I just happen to get a lot of inside pitches to where I must react and because I crowd the plate it is sometimes difficult to get out of the way.  That is how I am, and I love it.  It is a part of my game.

SSU: Who was your favorite MLB player growing up and why?  Besides the Bells, who was your favorite baseball team growing up?

CM: Ken Griffey Jr. for sure.  We played the same position.  He had that wow factor that caught everyone’s attention.   He was “The Kid” and being a 5-tool player that he was, he always had fun which is what I wanted to be.  I wanted to model my game after him.  Griffey Jr. is the man!

As for favorite team besides the Bells 😊, I must go with my hometown Seattle Mariners.  It has been tough to watch all these years, but I got faith that we will turn it round soon.  It is on the horizon with all these young stars like Kyle Lewis and others.  We just need to get a few more free agents.  It will happen.  The future is bright.

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

CM: It is pretty much baseball.  I really do not have too much free time.  I really like boating and hanging out on Lake Washington with my friends.  I do not play video games, but I do watch some television.  Breaking Bad was one of my favorites.  The League is a funny show that I really enjoy.  Hiking I like to do a whole lot.  Being outdoors and in nature is my thing.

SSU: What are you majoring in at the University of Washington?

CM:  I recently just chose my major.  I chose to major in Business and specialize in Finance.  I have worked real hard the last two years to keep my GPA up and am excited for what the future in Business will bring to the table after my baseball career is over.

SSU: Twenty years from now when your baseball career is over, what Hollywood actor will be playing Cole Miller in the movies?

CM: Ha, that is a tough one but a good question.  Who is going to play me that looks like me?  Oh, I know, Ryan Reynolds 😊 lol.  He is funny, looks a lot like me and one of my favorite actors. I do not know any other actors that could play me in the movies that look similar.  He is the perfect choice and a great actor too.

SSU: Last question.  Thanks again, we know you must go.  Why did you choose Bellingham Bells?

CM: I wanted to stay local.  Bellingham Bells have a great history and a great organization from top to bottom.  The fans are great, the atmosphere in this ballpark is outstanding every time we go out there.  This is a beautiful city to be a part of, even if only during the summer.   I am a homebody, and this was the perfect fit.  Thank you, guys, for having me. Go Bells!

What an amazing young man we talked to.  The following day the Bells played a day game on Father’s Day.  Cole Miller went out and hit a sacrifice fly and an RBI double to help the Bells in their victory over Portland 4-0.  The future is bright for Cole Miller, and we cannot wait to see what happens next.  For now, we will sit back and watch he and his teammates take over this 2021 season and hopefully make it to the playoffs and beyond.  Best of luck to you Cole Miller!

Go Bells!

Brian Solack

Seattle Sports Union

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