Mariners ball girl: Part protector, part entertainer

Apr 6, 2011, 8:51 AM | Updated: 11:55 am
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Seattle’s boys of summer have their first home baseball game at Safeco Field Friday night. And the girls of summer will be ready to protect and serve the fans.

Twenty-nine young women auditioned last weekend for the privilege of earning $8.67 and hour for a part-time seasonal job. But the opportunity to get up close to the best major league players in the game is a priceless experience.

Woodinville, Washington native Tobey Varney has been a Mariner ball girl the past three years.

“I grew up watching baseball,” Varney told KIRO Radio’s MyNorthwest Weekend. “I’ve grown up playing softball. Just the atmosphere of the stadium, and getting paid to watch a baseball game on the field is awesome.”

Varney can certainly walk the talk. She is a terrific infielder for Bellevue College, and before that, she was an All King-Co performer at Woodinville High.

What skills do you need to be a successful ball girl?
You have to make a quick decision. If a batted ball is fair, you get out of the way. If it’s foul, you field it. Then you hand the baseball to a fan in the crowd, unless a supervisor has someone already picked out.

One of Varney’s most difficult assignments is deciding which child should get a baseball to take home.

“It’s really hard,” says Varney, “because there are so many cute kids. And there are so many fans screaming at you when the ball is hit towards you. It’s easier for us to skim the crowd a little bit and pick one or two kids out before you even get a ball.”

Sorting out that sticky situation suits Tobey’s career plans quite well. She’s interested in elementary education.

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Mariners ball girl: Part protector, part entertainer