Video by Nasir Ransom
With baseball season looming, the Philadelphia Phillies are looking for new ballgirls for the 2018 season. Each year, the Phillies hold their annual ballgirl tryouts for young women around the Greater Philadelphia area.
The Phillies describe their ballgirls as being “ambassadors for the Phillies both on and off the field.” The organization hopes to find educated, athletic and energetic women who hope to serve as role models in professional sports for young girls.
On the field there are two ball girls: one on the first base line and the other on the third base line. Both are in charge of picking up foul balls as well as interacting with the fans. There are also six or seven girls who walk around the stadium as a part of the Red Goes Green team, which promotes recycling.
Off the field, the ballgirls give back and do a lot of community and charity work, including visiting hospitals and schools.
Jessica Hayes, a junior early childhood education major at Cabrini University, is one of the many young women seeking a spot on the 2018 Phillies ballgirl team. Hayes, a native of Pennsauken, N.J., is also a part of two honors societies, Delta Epsilon Sigma and Kappa Delta Pi Sigma Rho.
In addition to her outstanding achievements in the classroom, Hayes is the President of El Sueño Español, a new club on Cabrini’s campus. Hayes has also been heavily involved within Cabrini’s mentorship program in the Greater Norristown School District for the last three years.
As for Hayes athletic career, she has played softball ever since she was six years old. She stopped when she reached college, in order to focus on academics, but is finding her way back to the sport she loved.
“Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a ballgirl,” Hayes said.
This season, she looks to cross a lifelong dream off her bucket list.
A few months back, Hayes emailed the Phillies expressing her interest in becoming a part of the team for the 2018 season. After filling out the official application, Hayes had to produce a video displaying her softball abilities, along with submitting her resume.
One week after Hayes submitted her application, she was formally invited to Citizens Bank Park for the first round of tryouts.
Going into the tryout, Hayes had some nerves about the process, but quickly became acclimated with her surroundings.
“At first, I was nervous, but I made friends with so many friendly girls at the tryouts quickly, so that definitely soothed my nerves,” Hayes said.
The tryout consisted of three separate activities: testing each candidates abilities in softball skills, interview skills and Phillies knowledge. The softball skills portion included fielding ground balls, hitting balls and throwing.
After showcasing their athletic abilities, the candidates were individually asked a random series of questions in front of a camera. Lastly, each candidate had to take a quiz, testing them on their knowledge of baseball and Phillies history.
“The tryout process was actually super fun,” Hayes said.
One day after the tryout, Hayes received the good news that she made it to the second round. On Jan. 23, Hayes ventured back to the ballpark for round two of tryouts in a formal interview setting.
“I think the interview went really well as it seemed to flow smoothly,” Hayes said. After another week long period of waiting, Hayes received some more good news.
“I was in a meeting when I looked at my phone and I read that I had a voicemail from ‘Michelle from the Phillies,'” Hayes said.
Hayes sat patiently in the meeting, while her heart was racing, waiting for the opportunity to call back. Once the meeting concluded, Hayes called the number back, but found herself in a game of phone tag, as “Michelle from the Phillies” did not pick up.
Moments later, the phone rang.
Hayes got the job.
“Waiting for the phone to ring again was gut-wrenching,” Hayes said. “I honestly can’t believe this.”