What does it take to be a Phillies ball girl? We found out

Shayla Sweeney, 23, Barrington, N.J. is one of the two dozen area girls trying out to become a ball girl for the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday.

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.

Athleticism is a must

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.

Camera icon David Swanson
Lily Shontz, 23, of Medford, is one of two dozen local girls trying out to become a ball girl for the Phillies.

There’s no age limit

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.

There’s an interview

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.

Camera icon David Swanson
Francesca Amarillo, 18, of  West Deptford, meets the judges during her interview while trying out to become a Phillies ball girl.

A dash of Phillies knowledge won’t cut it

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.

Dress down, not up

If you show up with curled hair and fake eyelashes on tryout day, you’re going to stand out like a sore thumb. Ditch the curling wand for a ponytail and headband instead. Skip the full face of makeup and throw on your comfiest sweatpants or leggings. Looking put together definitely doesn’t hurt your chances — current ball girl Sierra Wright is Miss Delaware USA 2018 — but it’s best to save the ribbons and lip gloss for after you get the job. When you’re at the tryouts, you want to be seen as an athlete. They’re not just looking for cute girls, they’re looking ballplayers.

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Load comments