July 2, 2001
Kati Wescott outside Safeco Field.
Being a Mariners' ball girl is all fun and no work for Woodinville teen
by Deborah Stone
Eighteen-year-old Kati Wescott of Woodinville is very fortunate to have one of the more enviable summer jobs available to her age group. Everyone around her thinks she has the best situation and she is the first to agree.
Wescott is in her second season with the Seattle Mariners as a ball girl ‹ one of those favored few who get to field Mariner foul balls hit during the team's home games. Fans of the Mariners may recognize her name as ball girls are always introduced before the games.
"I love being a ball girl," comments Wescott. "It's really not a job for me because it's so much fun. I don't consider it work because I'm doing something that I totally enjoy and getting to watch the Mariners play."
Three years ago, Wescott applied to be a ball girl and auditioned for the job by fielding balls hit to her on the field. She didn't get the job then, as there were only two openings, out of seven slots total, but she was offered the job as fielder. In that position, she babysat the player's children during the games, worked in the kids' play area and helped the Mariner Moose. After one year as fielder, she re-auditioned for ball girl and this time she was selected to the coveted position.
A passionate baseball fan and avid softball player since she was five years old, Westcott sees her job as a perfect fit. She only wishes it were full-time.
"I work about every third home game and there are two of us on at one time. We have to rotate, so I can't work all the games. I have another summer job in retail sales to earn more money, but I consider that one "real" work and definitely not a lot of fun!"
As a ball girl, Westcott sits on a stool on one side of the field, waiting for the foul balls to come her way. When she gets one, she then gives it to one of the many fans clamoring for it in the stands. It is up to her to choose to whom to give the balls, and she most often presents them to children or senior citizens.
"Some people can get obnoxious about it," comments Westcott, "and I've even been offered money by some of the guys who want the balls. The ones who act that way never get the balls."
In addition to watching the games for free, Westcott has the enviable opportunity of being able to interact with the players. According to her, most of them are very nice and friendly, as well as having a good sense of humor.
She says, "They like to tease the ball girls and tell us things like 'go get them out there and no errors while you're at it!'
My favorite player is Mike Cameron because he's like a big kid and his personality really stands out. He's down to earth and so friendly with everyone, especially the fans. He helped me once by loaning me one of his gloves when I had forgotten mine."
Right now, with their phenomenal record, the Mariners are enjoying an incredible ride and having such a sweet season that Westcott finds the atmosphere exciting and knows she is also witnessing history. She says, "These players are amazing in their skills and their level of commitment to the sport. They're also a real team that understands the meaning of teamwork. What's different about this season from last is that they are so laid back now and they have so much fun playing together. In the past few seasons, there was much more tension and you could feel it. Players didn't seem real happy."
Friends always ask Westcott about the Mariners, trying to get information about the various players from her, but she constantly tells them that they're just regular people.
"I tell everyone that they're normal guys; they just happen to make more money than the normal person," explains Westcott. "I used to be in such awe of them when I first started working, but after awhile, I realized that they're just regular guys."
Westcott plans to keep her seasonal job with the Mariners until she's 21 (the age limit for a ball girl), but she hopes to get an internship with the organization, while studying public relations at Washington State University, where she recently finished her freshman year.
"I think interning with the Mariners would be a great learning opportunity for me," says Westcott. "I really respect the organization." In the meantime, she plans to enjoy her stint as ball girl and looks forward to working the coming All-Star Game and getting the chance to have an up-close and personal view of some of the country's hottest players.