Kristjanson, a rising senior from Mountlake Terrace, is in her third season as a Mariners’ ball girl. She started all 52 games at shortstop for the Redhawks in 2017, sharing the team’s defensive player of the year award.
Matriotti will be a sophomore in 2018, following a terrific freshman campaign. The native of Everett was named First Team All-WAC after batting .420 in conference play.
The pair took time to answers questions for GoSeattleU.com.
What was the process for getting the position?
MK-I heard about the job position from some of my travel ball teammates who were ball girls when I was in high school and they told me about it and how to apply. So I sent my application in through e-mail and they e-mailed back with a couple tryout dates. On the date of your tryout you show up to Safeco Field and they take you into the visiting team clubhouse and you fill out paper work while you wait for your turn on field try out. Once you get called you go onto the field and you get a couple warm-up ground balls and then they really start hitting them hard at you because that is what it's like during the games. While you are getting your groundballs you are being judged by four or five people sitting in the stands. After your on-field tryout, you go in and have a face-to-face interview with someone who asks standard job interview questions such as "Why do you want to work for the Mariners?" or "What are your expectations from this job?". At the end of the week they give you a number to call and it goes to a pre-recorded message and it lists all the names of the girls who got the job.
AM-To get the position you have to send in a professional and athletic resume to the Mariners. If you seem like a good candidate they will invite you to tryout. At the tryout, you are interviewed by a Mariners representative, then once again on the field by three different softball/baseball coaches who will later watch you take groundballs. After all of the interviewing is done, you sit in the empty stadium with someone hitting ground balls and line drives at you off the wall and on the dirt challenging you to field and block everything that comes at you.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
AM-My favorite part of the job is giving a ball to a little kid that genuinely loves baseball and is interested in the Mariners game. I always try to give it to the kid that’s wearing the most Mariners gear, or is at Safeco Field experiencing their very first game. Seeing their eyes light up (and most of the time their parents too) is so rewarding. I know that giving them a ball will make their whole day and I love making cute kids happy!
MK-Watching a little kid's face light up after giving them a foul ball that was hit by a Major League player. Also I get the best seat in the house to watch my hometown baseball team play.
What responsibilities do you have on game day?
AM-On game day, we arrive about an hour or so before the game starts and meet in the ball girl room to get our stools and helmets outside. We chat with other staff members before we warm up the person throwing the first pitch in the tunnel and then we usually get to catch one of the first pitches. Before the game starts, we always go to the Mariners dugout to get gum from one of the policemen working that day, we have to fist bump him before we get the gum because that’s our tradition. Finally, we go our separate ways on the field when the game starts, the ball girls always fist bump and head over to our stools. During the game we field groundballs hit at us, talk to fans, and if we’re playing the Astros, we play catch with their left fielder.
MK-It depends on the day but we have to report on the field an hour before first pitch and we might help with some of the on field games that are played. We might warm up the celebrity first pitch and we catch the first pitch from the group sponsor or the kid for that night. A couple minutes before first pitch we head down to our stools on either the first base or third base side and that's when we really have to start paying attention because at any moment we could get a foul ball coming at us at upwards of 100 mph. Throughout the game, in between innings we walk around and talk to fans and give kids bubble gum from the dugout and even Mariners baseball cards.
What is a memorable moment from working at Safeco Field?
MK-I think my most memorable moment from working at Safeco Field was my first year as a ball girl and it was one of my first games that I worked and the Mariners were playing the Astros. Normally visiting teams have someone from their bullpen come out and play catch with their left fielder but for some reason the Astros don't do that so the ball girl on the third base side plays catch with him. I WAS SO NERVOUS. Playing catch with a baseball is so much different that playing catch with a softball, I can fit my whole hand around a baseball. I was so nervous I was going to chuck it straight into the ground. I didn't mess up which was a relief and throughout the years the left fielders have all been really nice.
AM-A memorable moment from working at Safeco, was the first game I ever worked. I was really nervous and it was the ninth inning and I still hadn’t had a ball come to me yet. Finally, a hard hit ball came at me and I snagged it and looked around at the kids sprinting down the aisles like mad men trying to get the ball from me. A few seats down, I saw a five-year-old girl dressed in a pink Mariners uniform, pink glove, and a pink Mariners hat that I couldn’t resist. After the game, she and her dad came up to me and thanked me for giving his daughter a ball. She asked for my autograph and a picture to remember the night she got a ball. To this day, no one has been as excited as that little girl was to receive a ball.