Toughest Part of the Job…Who Gets the Foul Ball???
Part of the ballgirl duties is fielding foul balls and handing them out to eager children. This past week, McKenzie had such a great experience that she wanted to blog about it. I passed her blog around to the other girls to see if they had any similar experiences and it turns out we did! Enjoy some happy stories from Citizen’s Bank Park!
McKenzie: Last Wednesday night I had my favorite foul ball experience in my two years of being a ballgirl. As soon as I walked down the line before the game started, a little girl named Rylee was there waiting for me. Of course, she asked for a foul ball, and I told her to run down if she saw me get one and I’d try to give it to her. Well.. after every half inning, Rylee walked down to tell me she was still patiently waiting! She was adorable and so funny for a girl her age. At one point during the game she called me over, and started bribing me with a brownie!! Luckily, in the bottom of the 6th, I finally got a foul ball and was able to give it to her. Once I got back to my chair, I looked over and saw her hugging her dad SO tight with a huge smile, and I could tell she was one of the most genuinely excited kids I’ve ever seen get a ball!
Katie: Giving away foul balls to the youngest baseball fans is one of the best perks of our job as a ballgirl. I think one of the cutest stories I have of giving away a foul ball was after I had fielded the ball and handed it off to a child who was about 3 years old. He was so excited to get a ball. The next inning I went back down there to say “hi” to the family and they handed me a small piece of paper from a cartoon notepad with some scribbling on it. The child said that it was supposed to say “thank you”. Being a kindergarten teacher, of course I thought it was adorable!
Patti: I wish I had a foul ball for every kid that asked for one. It gets a little heartbreaking sometimes when you let down the fans by not producing one and it’s honestly my least favorite part of job. Fortunately the ones that you do have the opportunity to pass a foul ball to really make it worth it. My favorite foul ball handout was to an adorable little infant whose 1st Phillies game it was! Normally, when we hand out the foul ball the fans in the vicinity that didn’t get it are a little discouraged it wasn’t to them, but when I ran back behind me and gave the ball to the baby as promised everyone around cheered and applauded, some people even stood up and cheered. It was really endearing to have the fans support. In between innings I had the chance to chat with the parents, who couldn’t be more appreciative and wanted to let me know they will have that foul ball and the memory forever.
Running into fans outside of the stadium is always a good time. My mom was at the Philadelphia Zoo last weekend and was talking to a family she had met there. My mom ask their youngest son, who happened to be donning a Phillies t-shirt, if he was a fan. After he ecstatically screamed “YES!”, my mom gave him one of my trading cards (she loves passing those out…). Seeing this, his brother comes running over to check out then card, and says, “Hey, that’s Patti! I met her. I have her card. How do you know her?…You’re Patti’s mooooom?! That’s so cool” … and that’s what makes it all worth it
Emily: Being on the field at Citizens Bank Park fielding foul balls is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my life. One of the best parts of fielding foul balls is when I field it cleanly and end up making a nice play. So far my most memorable foul ball that was hit to me happened when I was on the third base line a few weeks ago. Jason Werth was at the plate and hit a hard foul ball that ricocheted hard off the wall, so I angled myself and was able to backhand it. It was really cool because it sounded like my whole section cheered for me after I made the play. I later found out that the play I made was on TV and the announcers talked about the nice play I made and how I was a “goofy” lefty. Ever since that game I can’t seem to shake my new “Goofy” nickname…I have Tom McCarthy to thank for that one I guess! Besides fielding the foul balls, the most rewarding part of the entire thing is what happens after I field it. Handing out the baseball to a young boy or girl is so much fun! It is absolutely adorable when their eyes light up when they realize that I’m about to give them a ball. There’s nothing like being able to make a little kid’s night, and possibly make a memory that he or she will always remember!
Lindsay: Giving away foul balls is an amazing feeling. I remember earlier in the season a routine foul ball came down the first baseline and I picked it up. A young boy had asked for it earlier in the game and I was trying to get him one for a few innings. So, I fielded the ball and looked for him and there he was jumping up and down. I was able to get him the ball and his entire section cheered with him. Later during the half inning I went back to check on him and he was busy on his parents cell phone – because he was on tv! He was so excited that his aunts and uncles had been calling to say they saw him get the ball and jump up and down on tv. I won’t forget how cute he was and how excited he was that night!
Victoria: My first few games on the field I honestly thought that there was a curse placed on me, I never seemed to get any foul baseballs on my side of the field. Meanwhile my fellow ballgirl on the field was getting bombarded with them. This particular story of a foul baseball was not my first one, but still to this day is my most memorable experience. It was my 4th game on the field and I was on the third base side. I was in between innings signing baseball cards and this blonde haired blue eyed little girl looked up at me said “I want to be just like you someday Victoria,” well needless to say she was getting the next foul baseball I was able to field. The next 3 innings went by and still I hadn’t received any foul baseballs yet, then surely enough one came down my side. A guy leaned over the fence in an attempt to pick it up but missed I grabbed the ball and stood up, it took me a second to realize where I was and where this little girl was. I ran over to her and dropped it in her pink Jennie Finch glove. After that inning her Mom flagged me down and asked me to take a picture with this little girl and again with those big blue eyes and bleach blonde hair she looked at me and asked me to sign her baseball. I did of course and in return she gave me one of her Phillies silly bands which I wear every time I’m on the field
Katelyn: My very first game alone on the field I was lucky enough to have the cutest little red haired boy sitting near me. He was attending the game with his grandparents and they were all sporting Jayson Werth jerseys. The Phillies were up against the Reds and the game ended up going into the 12th inning. As the game continued, I noticed my red haired buddy dozing off. As much as he wanted to fall asleep, he was fighting the urge just so he could see his favorite player finish the game. As soon as Jayson Werth came up to bat, I knew if I were to retrieve a foul ball I would give it to the little boy. Sure enough, Werth smoked a grounder foul and I was able to hand it to the young boy and his family. They were so thrilled! The red haired boy wasn’t tired anymore, I think he jumped up and down for the rest of the inning with the biggest smile on his face. Not only did the little boy get a baseball hit by his favorite player, but the Phillies added some icing to the cake by winning with Schneider’s walk off homerun in the 12th. Being able to brighten a family’s day just by handing them a foul ball hit by their idol is one of the most rewarding parts of being a ballgirl. It truly is a wonderful feeling being able to be part of a little boy’s moment that he’ll remember forever.
Bridgette: Although we wish we could get a foul ball to every fan in the stands, it’s our job as a ballgirl to reach out to some of the biggest (yet- smallest) fans…the kids! During my last game on the field I met a little boy named Sam, who was accompanied by his dad and older brother, Tommy. Right away the three got my attention and I soon found out that it was Sam’s ninth birthday. Sam wasted no time in expressing his excitement about the possibility of getting a foul ball on his birthday, so I told him that I would do my best to get him one in order to fulfill this wish. Sometime in the second inning was when I received my first foul ball, but as I ran over to where Sam was sitting, he was no where to be found! I handed the ball to his older brother and said, “Make sure you give this to Sam!” As I sat down his dad let me know that he had just gotten up to get chicken fingers from the concourse, and as he finally returned to his seat I watched the disappointment in his face as he learned that he had missed his chance. I also noticed that his older brother was clenching the foul ball in his glove with no intention on sharing. Sam politely asked again that if I were to get another foul ball, if he could have it. Because he asked so nicely, and the fact that it was his birthday, I made it my mission to deliver on my promise. Innings went by and nothing was being hit my way; sadly it looked like Sam might be leaving empty handed. Suddenly late in the game a home run was hit into right field by a Mets player. As expected, the ball was thrown back onto the field, and although it wasn’t a foul ball, this was my chance to make little Sam’s birthday a memorable one. Once I grabbed the ball and returned to my seat I saw Sam’s eyes light up as I placed the ball into his glove. For the remaining innings I noticed that not once did the smile escape his face as he proudly held the foul ball and cheered on the Phils. I could tell this was a birthday he would never forget. While it may sound cheesy, it’s moments like these that remind me of why I signed up to be a ballgirl in the first place!
Becca: The giving away a foul ball process is an interesting one. For me, it
usually goes a little something like this; upon entering the field, while I am putting down my chair and getting ready for the national anthem, I scout. I look for little kids sitting by my section who could be potential recipients of a foul ball. Then we do opening ceremonies and the game begins. Here’s where it gets interesting. A ball is hit and is screaming down the line at me. My adrenalin is pumping, In a split second I determine if it’s fair…foul…fair…foul…fair…IT’S FOUL. I get up from my chair and try to field it cleanly to avoid being booed by 45,000+ fans. I lean over, the ball is in my glove, I look up only to realize I am so disoriented from the adrenalin rush that just happen that I have completely lost every child I scouted out before the game. I look especially hard for the little boy/girl who specifically asked me for a foul ball and sometimes I find them, but unfortunately sometimes I don’t I hand the ball to the closest young outstretched hand I see and scurry back to my seat. It all happens so fast that you barely have time to think! It seems like a split second to me, but it is great knowing that by giving a young fan a ball, I’ve created a memory that will last forever for them!