Team Fredbird member: 'It's the best job'

News-DemocratJuly 13, 2014 

The third out in the top of the third signaled it was time for Taylor Wasser to shine.

As the players left the field, she and two Team Fredbird buddies hurried onto the area between the right field and left field bleachers to shoot T-shirts from a slingshot.

They pointed and blew whistles, racing from one side to the other. They took aim at the section cheering louder. The trio had about five minutes of fun with the fans before moving on to their next activity on the breezy hot Sunday afternoon.

Stop for a photo? No problem.

Console a young fan who bumped his knee? Sure.

The 21-year-old Collinsville woman is one of 12 Team Fredbird girls who entertain fans during Cardinal baseball games.

"It's awesome," said Taylor, a 2011 graduate of Collinsville High school who is a senor at Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville, majoring in pre-med. "I love it. It's the best job I have had, funwise."

If you've gone to a game, you've probably seen the long-haired blonde in the bleachers or atop the dugout. She also helps with promotions, inflating hundreds of balloons, then distributing them to a section of fans for the dance cam, or putting on tropical gear for a vacation giveaway. Cardinal-related events away from the ballpark are also in the mix.

How did you get the job? "Honestly, I just applied. I saw the girls at Winter Warm-Up (a January fan event with proceeds going to charity). They talked about having room on the team. I decided to apply. I looked it up online and sent stuff, a picture and resume."

What did they want to know? "If we had a history of cheerleading, dance or anything. I had a little bit of experience, not a ton. I did a lot of stuff with my sorority, promotional stuff. I was a cheerleader for two years, but it was back when I was 13 or 14.

"When I came in for an interview, there were more questions about personality than work history and all that." event? propmotins,

Did you have to be a certain age? "They want you to be 21 to apply, but we have a couple younger. When you work golf tournaments, you can do bottle services when you are 21 or older. It's not set in stone. We have one that's 19 or 20. We have a couple who are 26. About that age, they usually leave for their career kind of job."

Did you have to practice with the slingshot? "They pretty much just threw us up there. The first time I hadn't even touched the slingshot. They throw you into the mix and you go with it."

Do fans approach you much? "It's hard to walk through the stands without people asking you for a T-shirt. Little kids and adults. They're used to us giving away free stuff."

Do you follow a schedule for each game? "It changes every game. We do two or three T-shirt shoots a game. All the promotional events --stuff up on the jumbotron -- have sponsors. Before the game, we have to roll T- shirts, blow up balloons, do the Big MacLand bags. We get here an hour and a half early to prepare all that stuff."

Were you a baseball fan before this? "Huge. That was my Christmas present every year. My parents would get me and my boyfriend a package of tickets. My dad is a sports fan for anything St. Louis. I grew up with that influence. I love the game. The Cardinals are always in the hunt for October. They're fun to watch. "

What's it like to be up on the dugout, encouraging the crowd? "It's an adrenaline rush every time you get up. It's fun to see the crowd pumped up. I used to sit in the stands and think about wanting to be part of it. It's awesome that it worked out."

What kind of reaction do you get when you tell people what you do? "People are always surprised. I tell them I work for the Cardinals. They say, 'What do you do?' I am the girl who stands on the dugout and shoots out T-shirts. I also have another job. I'm a bartender at Texas Roadhouse in Edwardsville."

Family: Parents Terry and Kimberly Wasser, and a brother, Drake

Favorite ballpark food: "I love the nachos with extra jalapenos. I probably eat them every time I work."

Favorite restaurant: "I like to try the little individually owned places downtown."

Car? A gray Mazda 3

Which do you prefer, TV, movies or books? "Probably movies. I love Netflix. I watch it all the time. It's usually my go-to. I just went and saw 'Transformers.' I like action and superhero movies.

What do you like to do for fun? "Go on date nights, go to dinner, the batting cages or see a movie."

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