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Gates open... tarp off the field

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Apr 12 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 12 2013 10:18:41 PM CDT

Bring on the burgers. Bring on the ostriches. And of course, bring on the baseball!

READING, Pa. -

Bring on the burgers. Bring on the ostriches. And of course, bring on the baseball! There was plenty to see on opening day. And the Reading Fightin Phils introduced fans to the live ostriches even before they passed through the front gates.

Before the game started everyone wanted to meet Ruth and Judy. They are the newly-named ostriches living at the ballpark.

Everyone wanted to have their picture taken with the Fightin Ostriches.

Austin Garceau pointed to his favorite, "That one over there."

The tall one is Judy the shorter one is Ruth. They're just like the people they're named after, state senator Judy Schwank and Ruth Hartman, the former All-American Girls Professional Baseball player. They both said it's an honor.

"I was queen of Baseballtown. I'm in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown for playing," said Hartman, "It's just to think that the people really care about me."

"Some people have buildings named after them," said Schwank, "I'm just delighted to have an ostrich named after me."

But there was a real Ostrich out on the field, five-year-old Harper Ostrich. She was with her grandfather, Tracy Hoffman.

"Because it's the fightin ostrich. It's Fightin Phils and the ostrich," said Hoffman, "She's here for a first pitch."

But before she threw the ball, she was told to look up at the big screen on it was her dad, Jay Ostrich.

"I'm captain Jay Ostrich of the United States Air Force. I'm a real fightin ostrich," said Ostrich.

"His name is Jay Ostrich his nickname in the Airforce is the Fighting Ostrich," said general manager Scott Hunsicker, "He's from Berks County. He called us and told us his story."

Harper's dad is fighting in Africa and he wanted to cheer on the home team on opening day.

"Go Fightin Phils," said Ostrich from the video screen.

The crowd cheered for them both.

Harper Ostrich represented her dad the real Fightin Ostrich. And the ostriches, Judy and Ruth are representing the Reading Fightin Phils.

Judy and Ruth will live at the stadium and be out front during all the home games.