Pistachio Girl on her own in peanuts-and-Cracker-Jack world of Phillies ballpark

(Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)
(Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 04, 2011

Nobody else could sell pistachios. Others tried. Just Pistachio Girl.

She parted the seas, the standing-room-only crowds at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday night, and bounced down the aisles, a cult figure.

Art Ehlo, 58, a season-ticket holder down the third-base line, gave her a fist bump.

"I've got pictures of her in my phone with me," he said.

Debbie Brown, an usher in Section 136, took a photo. "She's fascinating," Brown said. "She's part of this ballpark. There's a whole page for her on Facebook, 'Fans of The CBP Pistachio Girl.' "

More than 500 people "like" it. Pistachio Girl has no idea who started it.

In Section 116, a desperate voice rang out, "I love you, Pistachio Girl!"

"See? I'm beloved," Pistachio Girl said. "And to think I had no friends in high school - no one liked me."

Mitch Masi, 13, of Springfield, stood in Section 140 and pointed when Pistachio Girl went down his aisle. His face lit up.

When asked, all he could muster was, "She's crazy." Asked to elaborate, he added, "She screams like an idiot."

A Masi family friend, Johanna Folgia, 40, of Media, suggested, "Maybe he has a little crush?"

Mitch sprinted to his seat, shaking his head in denial.

Pistachio Girl is 21-year-old Emily Youcis (with a hard K) of Harrisburg, a senior at Temple's Tyler School of Art, majoring in painting.

She has blond hair, usually in pigtails, although it's naturally brown and also has been dyed strawberry this season. Although she wore tights Sunday in the cold, her wardrobe is usually shorts and black boots.

"I like the idea of a boot," she said. "Makes people think - reminds people of physical labor, because it is. It's physical labor, dog."

She works in a buy-me-some-peanuts-and-Cracker Jack world, but waved her pistachios high and proud. She embraces the challenge of pistachios.

"It's a good word to scream," she explained. "The word is a lot more exciting than peanuts - no offense."

She can sing out the word like a temptress, sultry - Marilyn Monroe selling pistachios.

Or as an assault, each syllable a slap, rapid-fire: "Pi-sta-sh-i-os, pi-sta-sh-i-os."

Or in a classic newsboy bark: "Pistachios heaaah. Get your pistachios heaaah." That's probably her most professional and effective.

She also has a sad and weepy version - slow, legato, so people will pity her. It's good for when the Phillies are behind. But that won't fly during the hyper-charged playoffs.

Pistachio Girl knows nothing about baseball. She wouldn't know Cliff Lee from Bruce Lee, honestly. The game is merely the backdrop to her own theater each night. The only players she knows or cares about are relievers Mike Stutes and Antonio Bastardo.

During the summer, on warm nights, when the mood in the ballpark is more playful, casual, she will yell down to the bullpen, "Hey, Cutesy Stutesy, want some nuts?" This sends the fans wild in Section 102. They love the show, and of course this helps with sales.

"She yells out my name every day," Stutes said in an interview before the playoffs. "I have no idea why . . . I'm sitting there and I can always hear, so I wave back at her. I don't think it would be very nice if I ignored her."

Bastardo began laughing heartily when asked about Pistachio Girl. "She look down in and she say 'pistachios' like so funny. Oh, my God. Make you say 'wow.' She's beaming and talking and she speak a lot of funny things."

When Pistachio Girl started back at Temple in the fall, she cut back to weekends only at the ballpark. Bastardo said he missed her. He began asking his bullpen mates, "Where's Pistaschios?"

The greatest single night in her Pistachio Girl life happened in August, when a fan in Section 104 bought all 24 bags in her sack - $144, cash - and she just tossed them to imploring fans as if she were a rock star. Well, she is a rock star of sorts, lead singer in her own punk-metal basement band, Emily Pukis and the Vagrants.

She has another whole life online, as an animator of cartoons and star of her own videos, The Emily Show. This is often dark, bizarre material. Some of her Phillies fans know about this side of her. They've seen her video about a 99-cent plastic tiger mug, which begins, "Hey, kids, tired of being passed out on the bathroom floor? All you need is the tiger mug, the tiger mug . . ."

In a section near the right-field foul pole on Sunday, a fan screamed, "Show me the tiger mug!" and Pistachio Girl dug into her sack and pulled out the cracked, plastic mug and waved it high.

Aramark, which runs the vending operations at the ballpark, understands that Pistachio Girl is pretty far out there, but remains a big supporter.

"She sells a unique product, with a unique personality," said concessions director Jeremy Campbell.

And she's good at it. She sold 96 bags Sunday night, at $6 a bag. In two hours. Pistachio Girl keeps 15 percent, plus tips - which were $50 on Sunday. She said she made $6,000 this summer.

She has big dreams - painting pistachio ads, starring in pistachio ads, riding pistachios to fame and glory. She also has one baseball fantasy.

"I just wish they'd win the World Series again, and the fans would carry me out on their shoulders, and I could sing "We are the champions . . ."


Contact columnist Michael Vitez at 215-854-5639 or mvitez@phillynews.com, on Facebook, or @michaelvitez on Twitter.

 

|
|
|
|
|