When Chip Pruden ’08 traveled around North Carolina playing youth-league baseball in the 1990s, his grandfather had one piece of advice for him — play third base.
“The hot corner,” said Pruden’s grandfather, who played baseball for the Army in World War II. “That’s where you need to make your mark.”
Pruden, who graduated from NC State with a degree in sports management, says his love of baseball started as a child when his grandfather taught him the game. Pruden knew he always wanted to pursue some career in the sport.
He interned with the Kinston Indians in 2008 and then landed a job with the Wilson Tobs of the CPL as assistant general manager. He started with Edenton in December 2010. Working in the front office is a big difference from fielding balls down the line, he says.
“As a player, you’re more focused on the game and immediate task at hand,” Pruden says. “I focus on the operations side and on making the team as profitable as possible.”
He makes travel arrangements with hotels and bus companies. He deals with concessions. He designed all the merchandise sold by the Steamers this season. He runs the webcasts of the team’s away games. He plans the trip and prepares media packets for for six Steamers who will play in the CPL All Star game on July 18.
Pruden has to walk that fine line between coach and player, something that he’s even more conscious of because of his age. “It’s definitely a tough line to walk, my being 25 and the average age of our players is 20-21,” he says.
Pruden has had a hand in revitalizing the club. When he came to Edenton, the team was in financial trouble and needed a fundraiser to support his general manager’s position. But now the Steamers sit at 28-9, the best record in the CPL.
That success might make him just a little bit nervous. “I guess when the playoffs come around, I think the nerves will start to eat at me a little bit,” he says.