Newport’s Erin Tsutsumoto serves as ball girl for Seattle Mariners

There’s one thing for certain about Erin Tsutsumoto’s summer job: the view is to kill for. The Newport senior has the best seat in the house - at Safeco Field. Tsutsumoto is in her second year as a ball girl for the Seattle Mariners, where she shags the various foul balls that come down the line during the game.

There’s one thing for certain about Erin Tsutsumoto’s summer job: the view is to kill for.

The Newport senior has the best seat in the house - at Safeco Field.

Tsutsumoto is in her second year as a ball girl for the Seattle Mariners, where she shags the various foul balls that come down the line during the game.

It involves much more than what meets the eye. In fact, the tryout to just get to sit on the stool in Safeco field is more demanding than one would guess.

“Basically you go in for an interview and you are selected as one of the 20 out of 200,” Tsutsumoto said from Safeco Field before an M’s game last week. “You get interviewed by HR.

“Then they hit ground balls at you.”

Not your typical job interview.

Tsutsumoto, who has been playing softball for nine years, was a All-KingCo First-Team selection at second base this season for the Knights, who reached the state tournament.

She was more than ready for it, especially with it being her second year; no ball girl gets a free pass. Even the returnees are made to go through the tryouts.

“You just have to be confident and personable,” she said. “I’m confident in my playing abilities. I was more nervous for the interview part.”

Tsutsumoto was welcomed back to the Mariner fold, along with 10 other girls to work all Mariners home games. The teens switch off working games during the week and are paid for the work they do.

A typical game day, Tsutsumoto said, involves getting to the park an hour early, and doing a little bit of everything.

“You basically just set your stool up along the field,” she said, “and you help marketing with stuff, maybe you catch the first pitch. You’re just around to help with anything that is needed.”

Come game time, the ball girls are typically some of the most popular people around. That’s because when they scoop up a ball, they’re swamped by hordes of kids looking for a baseball.

“I’ll try to go by a numbering system during the game, but sometimes it can get overwhelming,” Tsutsumoto said. “But I love doing it, because it’s for the fans and it makes them happy.”

It also has given her the chance to meet some fans from around the world.

“I got to meet two kids from England who talked to me the whole game,” she said. “That was really neat. I just enjoy meeting all of the kids.”

The ball girls aren’t encouraged to interact with the players as a security precaution, Tsutsumoto said, but she does have conversations from time-to-time with them and the coaches. But she says the best part of her job is just the environment she works in.

“I just love it, it’s great,” said Tsutsumoto, who hopes to work in the Mariners front office once her ball girl days are through. “It’s a fun atmosphere here. I can’t imagine this being a job because it’s something I just really love to do.”

Joel Willits can be reached at 425-453-5045 or at jwillits@reporternewspapers.com