April 1st, 2011 was the official start to one of the most memorable seasons in Philadelphia sports history. With the return of Cliff Lee, the Phillies’ pitching staff was predicted as the best pitching rotation since the 1995 Braves’ combination of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Steve Avery. This season would be our first without the favored right-fielder, Jayson Werth, and Chase Utley was starting on the season on the disabled list. To say there were mixed predictions for the 2011 season would be an understatement. Unaware that 2011 would close out with the best regular season record in franchise history, the addition of fan-favorite Hunter Pence, and a pitching win from Infielder Wilson Valdes in the 19th inning of a 2-day game against the Cincinnati Reds, the Phillies’ Ballgirls look back on last year’s Opening Day and the anticipation this year’s Home Opener, April 9th, 2012.
Alicia: I am so excited for Opening Day 2012!!! I actually had to work on Opening Day 2011 so I was not able to watch the game last year. I was bummed that Chase Utley was not playing in the game but I was so happy to have Cliff Lee back. I was told via text message that the Phillies had an amazing comeback to win the game in the bottom of the ninth. I still cannot believe that I will be working for the Phillies and attending Opening Day this year ! It still feels unreal. I believe that the Phillies will have an amazing season. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley will be out for Opening Day which is very unfortunate for us. But I’m predicting great plays from the rest of Phillies especially with our bullpen. We have a solid defense on the field. I look forward to seeing who steps up as the power hitters this year. It makes me smile to think about the fact that Jim Thome is back!! (I got a chance to see him play in Florida during Spring Training.) Let’s get another NL East division championship this season. Go Phillies!!!
Amy: This is actually going to be my first time at a home opener! The fact that I have always wanted to go and now I will be working it is amazing! I can’t even describe how excited I am! I went to two games in Clearwater, Florida, for Spring Training, so I have already seen what they are capable of this season. However, watching a Phillies game at Bright House Field is completely different than at Citizens Bank Park. There is a different energy at CBP and a sense of home. I am really excited to see Cliff Lee again and I couldn’t be happier that he has come back! He was a great asset in 2010 and I know he will be another part to help the team win another world series. I know we are not going to see Utley and Howard the first part of the season, but I think the addition of Juan Pierre and others should fill in nicely until they recover. I believe we have an offense and defense that can – and will – take us far into the postseason. I could not be happier to be a part of the Phillies organization! So far, my experience has been incredible and I am looking forward to working my first game! I am anxious to experience Citizens Bank Park and the Phillies on the other side of it, rather than being only a fan! I can only imagine what is in store for this season but I know the Phil’s have the hunger for another World Series!!
Emily: Last year for Opening Day, I was not able to attend due to work, but when working in an office, you still find a way to know what is going on pitch by pitch. Last season, I was excited to hear the announcement that Cliff Lee was coming back to the organization. I admire his work ethic on the field and I think he has the right attitude to represent a Philadelphia sports team. I was able to attend a game on my birthday where he was the starting pitcher. That game, he had sixteen strikeouts and I was fortunate enough to witness that in person.
To be completely honest, if you would have told me a year ago that I would be able to participate in the Opening Day activities with the Phillies or that I was going to be a Ballgirl, I would have laughed and said great joke. I know that I am truly lucky to have this opportunity and I cannot wait for this season. I have been having so much fun with the other girls and I cannot wait to have all of these memories to look back on.
Jamie: I don’t think words can describe the excitement and anticipation that I was experiencing at this time last year. I was scheduled to work Green Team on Opening Day, and I was also going to be announced on the field. It was my first time walking down the hallway and up those stairs onto the field at Citizens Bank Park. This was my first memory on the field as a Ballgirl and probably one of my favorites to this day. It all seemed so surreal. I believe I had goose bumps from the moment I stepped onto the warning track. I kept thinking back to how excited I would have been merely to be watching the Phillies from the stands on Opening Day. Yet, to be on the field in Phillies Red, next to the Phanatic and veteran Phillies Ballgirls during the National Anthem and awe-inspiring flyover was completely humbling. It felt like a dream come true and the picture-perfect start to my rookie season. And the Phillies comeback victory was the storybook ending to complete the day. The weather may have been cold and gloomy, but in my mind, it couldn’t have been a more perfect day!
Leanne: Opening Day 2011, I was working Green Team with a few other rookies and veteran Ballgirls. I remember helping our Green Team volunteers when the initial Opening Day activities were taking place and hearing the noise of the crowd from outside of the stadium. It was enough to give me chills and I couldn’t even see what was happening. It was obviously the first regular season game I had worked and I remember thinking that I never wanted to leave the stadium. It was amazing being there and knowing I was part of the Phillies organization. I was lucky enough to catch the bottom of the 9th when the Phillies tied the game and John Mayberry, Jr., in his first appearance of the 2011 season, lined a walk-off single to center field to score the winning run of the game. The crowd literally erupted in noise, and it was the most exhilarating moment. Opening Day 2011 certainly set a standard for excitement, and I have no doubt in my mind this year will be the same! See you at CBP!! (Fingers crossed for beautiful weather!)
Leigh Ann: I unfortunately was unable to attend Opening Day 2011, but I am ecstatic to know that I will not only be at Opening Day 2012, but I will be training ON THE FIELD!! This time last year, I never imagined I would experience anything like this. To be in the city I love, on the same field as my favorite team, and surrounded by the greatest fans in Major League Baseball is truly an honor. I can’t wait to see what the season has in store for us, but I am definitely feeling another WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!!!
Genevieve: Last year I was still working at Villanova and I can remember preparing for the upcoming Lacrosse games in my office and listening to the game on the radio. This is by far the best time of the year and you can already get a sense of how excited everyone is for this years opening day. I am so excited to be apart of the Green Team for this day and have the chance to interact with all of our Phillies fans. (THE BEST FANS IN THE WORLD) It will be the first of many exciting games and I am so ready for it to start! Here we go boys!!!!
Marcie: My 2011 Opening Day experience was quite different from everyone else’s. Starting off, I wasn’t even in the country! Last spring semester I studied abroad in London from March-May. There I was in my jersey, with no game on TV. It was tough being away from my beloved Phillies for so long, but luckily my Dad kept me constantly updated. Little did I know, flash forward a year later, I would actually be a part of this organization, working my dream job! My first game will be the Home Opener on Monday, and it’s still so surreal. This season is going to be such an amazing experience and I’m SO excited!! LET’S GO PHILS!!!
Moira: Last year, I did not have the pleasure of working Opening Day but that does not mean I was not glued to my TV at home watching it! That being said, I do not think I could handle that long distance relationship with such an exciting game again this year. I will be working Opening Day on Monday and I cannot wait much longer … I even have a little surprise that I will be making for the very special day (pictures to come)! Who is ready for a fun day and another amazing season?! LET’S GO PHILLIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rachael: Last year I was not able to go to Opening Day because I had a softball game of my own, and unfortunately the same will be happening again this year. But regardless of not being able to attend Opening Day I am so excited for the 2012 season. I have been looking forward to the start of the season since October of last year. Even though some people think that the Marlins and Braves are much improved teams from last year, I still believe the Phillies will be winning their 6th division title in September! I am very excited about the acquisition of Hunter Pence during the season last year, and as a young player I think he will bring new life to the Phillies team. I think that we are all in for a VERY exciting year. GO PHILS!
Occupation/School: Student at Villanova University
Favorite Player: Chase Utley
Describe yourself in one word: Enthusiastic
One thing fans may not realize about our on-field responsibilities: Most of you fans think that we are always on either the first or third baseline, but this actually differs from game to game so we all have experience from both perspectives of the field!
Favorite memory from your rookie season: Christmas in July (toy collection and dancing on the dugout)
What have you been doing during off-season? Since I transferred colleges this year, I have been spending my off-season getting used to my new college, Villanova! It’s been a great move and I’m so happy to be back in my hometown of Philadelphia!
Name: Maureen (Mo)
Occupation/School: Account Manager, Randstad Technologies (Montclair State University undergrad, Centenary College MBA)
Favorite Player: Hunter Pence
Describe yourself in one word: Hilarious
One thing fans may not realize about our on-field responsibilities: Jacket runs are fun…until the 7th run at 3:30pm on a Sunday in July.
Favorite memory from your rookie season: My last training game was the game that went into the 19th inning. It felt like a playoff game and was so exciting. They moved the remaining fans to the lower level and the wave went around 5 times without stopping. It was awesome.
What have you been doing during off-season? The biggest change in my life in the off season is that I got engaged! Everyone is really excited … no the wedding will not be at CBP : )
Occupation/School: University of Pennsylvania, Pre-dental student
Favorite Player: Carlos Ruiz (John Kruk – past player)
Describe yourself in one word: Indescribable
Favorite memory from your rookie season: Being on the field for John Kruk’s induction into the Phillies’ Wall of Fame.
Occupation/School: Penn State University, sophomore studying Community, Environment, and Development
Favorite Player: John Mayberry Jr.
One thing fans may not realize about our on-field responsibilities: The idea of missing a jacket run is the most terrifying thought I have while on the field! I am constantly looking over to the bull pen whether it’s the 1st or 9th inning!
Favorite memory from your rookie season: My favorite memory of my Rookie season was being trained the night of the 19 inning-game and being able to see Wilson Valdez on the mound pitching to big-league hitters!
What have you been doing during the off-season? During this offseason I have been very busy with my schoolwork for 19 credits worth of classes! I also participated in the Penn State Dance Marathon which benefits the fight against pediatric cancer! Although I was not one of the dancers who were on their feet for 46 straight hours, I supported my organization by spending at least 30 hours dancing and cheering in the stands throughout the weekend! It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever been a part of and it was worth the months of preparation and fundraising to see our total money raised of $10.6 million for the kids!
Name: Genevieve (Gen)
Occupation/School: Hofstra University/Consumer Marketing Manager
Favorite Player: Chase Utley
Describe yourself in one word: Passionate
One thing fans may not realize about our on-field responsibilities: A lot of fans think we are only one side of the field but we normally will switch sides throughout the year. We also are responsible for picking up any opposing homerun baseballs that get tossed back out on the field. Let’s not forget about the long run to centerfield to grab the pitcher’s jackets! We can’t complain about those especially when its cold out.
Favorite memory from your rookie season: They playoff rally trolly and the post season pre-game activities! I was also on the field with Kristina last year for Fireworks night so we got to enjoy the show while sitting on the field! They are the BEST fire works I have ever seen!
What have you been doing during off-season? I work full time in circulation and marketing with the Philadelphia Inquirer and volunteer with the HEADstrong Foundation. I just recently moved to Center City so I am enjoying being here and finding new restaurants and hang out spots :o)
School: University of Delaware
Occupation: Transportation Engineer
Favorite Player: Chase Utley
Describe yourself in 1 word: Genuine
School/Occupation: Camden county college
Favorite Player (past, present, or both): Shane Victorino
Describe yourself in one word: Silly
What is one thing fans might not realize about our on field responsibilities? Having to stay focused while being on the field.
Favorite memory from the Rookie season: Stepping on to the field for the first time.
What have you been doing during the off-season: During the off-season I attend school at Camden county. I also took a mini vacation to Florida.