When Chas Pippitt started what is now Baseball Rebellion – a multi-faceted baseball training company that is about to open a 13,000-square-foot facility on Bennett Memorial Road in August – it was just “me, a bucket of balls and a prayer,” he says of his days giving lessons out of barns and backyard batting cages back in 2007. Before moving his company to its Hillsborough location in 2011, Chas (pronounced Chaz), 34, had personally taught 9,000 lessons. “When snow happened, I would chop wood, build a fire, and the moms and the dads would sit by the fire,” Chas says. “I’d be in three sweat suits, and we’d just coach all day. Those are the things you do when you are starting a business.”
But business was good, and when he opened the Hillsborough facility, it got better. Chas started using new tools to study each throw and swing of the little leaguers he coached. Soon, he found himself developing products designed to “make my job easier,” he says, like the Rebel’s Rack, which has been used by both pros and kids. A big part of his work involves fly-ins of pro players like Manny Ramirez.
“[Manny was just] asking me for video of Hannah Morris, who goes to Northern High School, and [longtime Baseball Rebellion member and University of Cincinnati player] A.J. Bumpass,” Chas says. “We have 10-year-old kids that grade out better than some of the Major League players, as far as how their bodies move in their swing.” That’s what Manny is after.
With Major League Baseball undergoing a human performance revolution, Chas is ready with the data.
“We track every ball here,” he says. “[Everything] is totally quantifiable. We run towards those measurement tools.” And he relies on his team for consistency, skills and inspiration. “When people come in, they come back,” he says, only partly because his staff is well qualified – he just hired University of Georgia’s standout women’s softball player Alex Hugo (who hits the ball off her bat at an almost unheard-of 90 mph) but also because they are dedicated, full-time instructors.
Soon Chas and his team will be working 24/7 out of Durham, where Chas has lived for the past 11 years with wife Megan and sons Bryant, 3, and newborn Tyson. “[Durham] is going to be home base, no matter what,” Chas says.
- The new facility, taking over the space vacated by Bull City Gymnastics, will be 2.5 times the size of the Hillsborough location.
- The total number of members is 225 or so, taught by six full-time instructors.
- “As [Baseball Rebellion’s] kids are aging, scholarships are flying in,” Chas says. “We did over $1 million in scholarships last year, in baseball and softball.”