How Chris Phillips became the Aces’ top guy

Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 6:35 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Pressed suits, shiny pins, and a drive to get things done.

“It’s the memory making business, right?” said Reno Aces GM/COO Chris Phillips.

Phillips got into baseball like most - playing Little League. Growing up in New Jersey gave Chris a much different experience, however. Not everyone gets to be coached by Tommy John.

“My dad was losing his mind. I knew it was cool,” Phillips laughed about the experience. “He played for the Yankees. I knew he was this close to being a Hall of Famer. I think he had 298 wins. Super good guy. We still talk to this day.”

From there it was on to Penn State University and falling in love with Minor League Baseball.

45 miles away from campus Chris got his start in Altoona, Pennsylvania. The opportunity to build a brand new ballpark in State College tied up Chris for four more years. The Colorado Springs Sky Sox brought him out west.

20-plus years leading is serving him well in Reno.

“There’s no job too small,” Phillips said of his role. “I’ll go pick up trash. That’s showing leadership, too.”

While Chris’s assistant isn’t on payroll, his dog, Nugget, who is more of a follower, serves a purpose, too.

“It kind of destresses any situation. If someone is upset about something they see the little guy running around and say ‘alright, we can handle this like adults.’”

The essence of the job is making sure each department is okay.

Just don’t ask how many steps Chris gets in on his laps around Greater Nevada Field.

“There’s not a lot of jobs too where you get that satisfaction piece where this is why we do what we do. Kids walk out of here, slapping fives with their dads, and their grandfather is there. It’s this family generational thing it makes it all worth it.”

So worth it that after he works 19 days in a row at times, he’ll hit the paddle board in Lake Tahoe to recharge before doing it all over again.