Imagine seeing the sparkle in children’s eyes as they walk through the gates of Citizens Bank Park for a Philadelphia Phillies game.
Now imagine handing a child a Phillie Phanatic hat or bobblehead statue depicting a favorite player.
SMC Security Officer Rebecca Auger has the pleasure of experiencing this with children and adults alike as a volunteer member of the Phillies’ Welcome Staff — those who greet guests just inside the gates and hand out the ever-popular giveaways.
“I started in 2015 when my daughter-in-law’s grandmother asked if I’d be interested,” Auger said. “She was in her 80s still volunteering, so I jumped at the chance to get my foot in the door.”
Her favorite aspect of volunteering for the Welcome Staff is interacting with children and seeing their excitement.
“My most memorable moment was finding a gold Brad Lidge bobblehead among all the regular ones. They only made 500 golden statues. I got to give it to a kid and make a big deal out of it. That was a great moment,” she said.
Everyone on the Welcome Staff gets two of the giveaways they hand out and watches batting practice before the gates open. After the second inning, they head down to the first base line to watch the rest of the game.
“I’ve been a Phillies fan my whole life, so it’s a lot of fun,” Auger said. “My all-time favorite player is Tug McGraw.”
The pandemic put a damper on last year’s baseball season, but more and more fans are being allowed into the stadium.
“We’ll be up to full capacity beginning June 12,” she said. “My next giveaway game is June 13 and I’m really looking forward to having all the fans back.”