Sarah Loveless never thought good seats at a Texas Rangers’ game would lead to a summer of throwing to major league baseball players and talking to fans from the field at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
While at a game in May, Loveless met a Rangers’ ball girl, who told her the Rangers were about to have tryouts for more ball girls.
The former Lady Indian softball player went to the tryout and proved her fundamentals and knowledge of the game were enough to land the job.
“I’ve worked at Citizens National Bank and Texas Motorplex, but this is by far the best job I’ve ever had,” she said.
Loveless can be seen sitting down either foul line wearing a white Rangers jersey and shorts during most Ranger games.
While the job includes warming up the outfielders and throwing with them between innings, the job is more than just playing with big leaguers.
“It’s never boring,” she said. “There are always fans that want to talk and at the same time, you have to stay focused on the game because you never know when the ball is going to come at you.
“There’s a lot of interaction with fans. It helps me appreciate how lucky I am.”
Loveless’ favorite type of fan are the kids. “I usually go for the kids and ask if they play baseball, what their favorite position is and who their favorite player is,” she said. “We just talk about baseball and they’ll usually beg for a ball.”
Of all the fans she has talked to and the players she has thrown with, Loveless’ best memory of the summer was actually her first.
Her first night on the job was when the Boston Red Sox were in Arlington. After a long rain delay, the first person she threw to was Sammy Sosa.
“I was nervous and excited all at the same time,” she said. “Kristin Novak, one of the other ball girls, told me that I know I can throw to them and to just be confident. Now, I just have so much fun with it.”
The hardest part of Loveless’ job is deciding who gets those highly sought-after foul balls that come her way.
With so many fans asking for balls, Loveless has come up with her own method of not having to make the decision.
“It’s very hard, so I usually just close my eyes and toss it up,” she said.
As a paid employee of the Rangers and since her uniform has Rangers written across the front, Loveless has no problem cheering for the team she’s followed since she was a child.
Although she may cheer without realizing it at times, her dad pointed it out to her after one of the games.
“Marlon Byrd hit a double down the line and my dad told me I was pumping my fist,” she said. “It’s hard not to cheer.”
At some point in time Loveless’ dream summer will come to an end, as will the Rangers’ season, but until then she’s going to enjoy it as much as possible.
“I start school Monday,” she said, “but I’m hoping to work something out with my softball coach so I can finish the season.”