Mariners ball girl: Part protector, part entertainer

Apr 6, 2011, 8:51 AM | Updated: 11:55 am

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.

Date Starting Pitcher
Sunday, October 2 @ 12:10 pm

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
High 78° | Low 55°
Roof is closed
Athletics at Mariners today at 12:10pm

Seattle Mariners

Mariners Justin Hollander Jerry Dipoto...
Brent Stecker

Seattle Mariners promote Justin Hollander to general manager

Fresh off clinching the first postseason appearance in 21 years, the Mariners announced the promotion of Justin Hollander to general manager.
16 hours ago
The Associated Press

Luis Castillo strikes out 8, surging Mariners drop A’s 5-1

A day after clinching a postseason berth, the Mariners jumped out to an early lead and beat the Oakland A's 5-1 on Saturday.
2 days ago
Mariners Cal Raleigh...
Brandon Gustafson

Cal Raleigh’s walkoff highlights how important he’s become to Mariners

Cal Raleigh went from an early-season demotion to a valuable member of the Mariners, which was cemented by his walkoff blast on Friday.
2 days ago
Mariners Carlos Santana...
Brent Stecker

Why Mariners’ Carlos Santana will be an important player in playoffs

As MLB Network's Jon Morosi points out, Mariners slugger Carlos Santana brings a few things to the table Seattle will need in October.
2 days ago
Mariners Cal Raleigh...
Brent Stecker

The Mariners found the perfect way to finally end the drought

There was only one path for the Mariners to get back to the playoffs, and two products of that path delivered Seattle's clinching victory.
2 days ago
Brandon Gustafson

‘It was the craziest thing ever’: Mariners end playoff drought and party is on

The Mariners ended their 21-year playoff drought in epic fashion Friday night and the party that kicked off was one for the ages.
3 days ago
Mariners ball girl: Part protector, part entertainer