The Phillies ball girls are a familiar sight on the first and third baselines during baseball season, and, from afar, being one may not look like much work. After all, all you have to do is field a ball every now and then — how hard can it be, right? Wrong. The two-hour tryout process is pretty tough for the paid two-year position. I went to Citizens Bank Park Wednesday morning, joining the 28 other hopefuls vying for nine or 10 spots, to find out what it takes to be a Phillies ball girl.
If you can't catch a ball to save your life (like me), you probably shouldn't even fill out the application. Most of the women who try out are former or current college softball players who can swing a bat and wield a glove with confidence. (Apparently, I did not project that same confidence, as no one asked me whether I wanted to take a crack at the fielding and hitting portions of the tryouts.) Ball girls must understand what's going on during the game so as not to interfere with it.
"During the physical part of the tryout, we look for a good reaction time," said Michele DeVicaris, director of community and charity events for the Phillies. "We also want them to be comfortable with a bat, because the ball girls play in a lot of charity games."
If you played another sport, don't be afraid to try out if you can still field balls comfortably. Reilly Wright, Villanova coach Jay Wright's daughter, primarily plays basketball and still gave an impressive performance during the fielding and batting parts of the audition.
But even if you're selected to be a ball girl, don't expect to be on the field a lot your first year. You'll have to undergo training with the veteran ball girls before you field balls alongside Carlos Santana and Maikel Franco.
To be a ball girl, you have to be at least 18. But there's no age limit, which means that in previous years, moms have tried out alongside college freshmen. However, being a ball girl is a serious time commitment of 15 to 20 hours a week during the season, so most ball girls are college students or recent graduates.
At some point during the tryout, you'll face questions from a panel of judges. Be prepared to answer textbook questions such as, "Why do you want to be a Phillies ball girl?" and "What does your community engagement look like?" Take that opportunity to express your love for Chase Utley, volunteering, and kids (bonus points if you say you especially love handing them foul balls). The panel judges you on facial expressions, body language, team player potential, and overall presence.
"Ninety percent of being a ball girl is off the field, so their demeanor is really important," DeVicaris said. "We look for welcoming faces that will help the community feel connected to the Phillies."
Pro tip: If the panel asks you what you would do if your favorite Phillies player slid into your Instagram DMs and asked to meet up, the correct answer is not yes.
If you make it to the next round, the panel will invite you back for a second, more extensive interview that will take place in the next couple of weeks. Final decisions aren't made until February.
A written quiz on the Phillies is part of the tryout — after all, you're trying to become a Phillies employee. You'll need to know a decent amount of Phillies trivia, like which team member holds the record for most career hits and who the last pitcher to throw a no-hitter was. You also need to know their numbers.
A good grasp of baseball rules is also going to be helpful. Study up on what's considered a foul and what's not.