Every year, a group of girls are chosen to represent Florida State on the baseball field. They don't practice, but they do attend meetings and games. Instead of cleats, they wear sneakers, and proudly promote school spirit. This year, few less than a hundred girls tried out to be a part of an FSU tradition. Only 16 became Bat Girls.
"The most difficult part is the selection process for Bat Girls," director of promotions for Seminole Athletics and Bat Girls coach Jason Dennard said. "There are so many qualified girls on campus."
Bat Girls are chosen in September of each year. Some applicants are recruited by word of mouth, and others find information via the Internet. Sophomore Leila Cutshaw became interested after seeing a flyer advertising try outs.
"Freshman year, I didn't know anyone when I came up here" Cutshaw said. "I decided that I really wanted to get involved."
The 20-year-old chemistry major from Tampa attended a group meeting, also referred to as a "Tea Invitational" at the University Center. Cutshaw met others interested in becoming Bat Girls.
Here, the President and Vice President informed the attendees of their mission, and girls had the opportunity to ask questions. At the end of the meeting, Cutshaw signed up for an interview.
A photo, application, $20, and a 2.0 grade point average are required to apply. The Invitational is generally held on a Sunday, and interviews can be set up for Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of that week. Thursday or Friday, applicants find out if they made the cut.
"When I found out, I was the last name on the list my freshman year" said Cutshaw. "It was absolutely horrifying."
As a Bat Girl, one is required to attend meetings where the president and vice president review dates and times of games. The new Bat Girls learn their duties at the 'Garnet and Gold game' held in the fall. The girls assist in the dugouts, on the foul lines, and sell programs to fans.
"My favorite part about being a Bat Girl is getting to work with the fans," Ashley Miracl said. "They are all so supportive and excited about the team."
Two girls are stationed in both home and visitor dugout. They pick up bats after players hit. Those in the home dugout bring the umpire game balls.
"My favorite part of being a Bat Girl is being right in all of the action," said Shellie Trejo. "I love being in the dugouts and knowing that I have the best seat in the house."
Every Bat Girl knows how to do each task and rotate responsibilities each game. They treat every game with dependability and consistency.
"When you're on the foul line, you're responsible to run and get the balls if the baseball players don't do it," Cutshaw said. "Sometimes you'll get half way out their and they'll grab it."
Occasionally, there are injuries. Cutshaw experienced half her fingernail getting ripped off by trying to catch a line drive. A friend and fellow Bat Girl also got hit with a baseball, but in the throat. Personal experience and learning from others, confirms it is beneficial to pay attention.
"The most difficult part of being a Bat Girl is being alert the entire game" Bat Girls vice president Jonae Papac said. "You never know when a ball is going to fly at you."
As a uniform, the Bat Girls are given two polo's, two t-shirts, and one draw string backpack, all sponsored by Nike. They also receive complementary Nike Shox. The girls are required to wear khaki bottoms: pants, Capri's or shorts. They wear Garnet and Gold with pride.
As for those who are interested in becoming part of the tradition in the future, current members have helpful recommendations.
"My advice for girls who want to be Bat Girls is: be yourself in the interview. Don't say something you think they're looking for," Leanne Lorenz said. "Be yourself."
Orignially published in FSU's FSView, Issue date: 1/8/07 Section: Arts & Life