READING, Pa. - A big time major leaguer was in Reading Monday night.
The New York Yankees' third baseman Alex Rodriguez is rehabbing a hip injury with the Trenton Thunder.
FirstEnergy stadium was abuzz about his visit. And yet in the same breath, people mentioned his talks with Major League Baseball and performance-enhancing drugs.
In Reading there are plenty of Phillies and Yankees fans. And it looked like the stands had more pinstripes than usual.
Trenton Thunder baseball players could be future Yankees, so an autograph today could pay off down the road. But with Alex Rodriguez rehabbing a hip injury in Reading the payoff could be immediate, if you could get it.
"He just walked by," said Sam Hernandez of Douglasville.
Hernandez camped out at FirstEnergy Stadium since 3 o'clock, trying to run into A-Rod.
"I would do anything to get his autograph," said Hernandez.
And no dice.
"So, I don't know just going to have to wait and see," said Hernandez, "Does what he wants to do."
It's not every day a major leaguer and celebrity comes to your local ballpark. But A-Rod said he's familiar with the Fightin Phils hometown.
"I used to come here as a kid to visit family most summers. So, I never thought I would be back coming to Reading," said Rodriguez. "I'm really excited to be here. I remember my aunt used to just drive me around. She loved Reading. I just remember how different it was from Miami."
Kelly Mest of Robesonia was glad he came back. She managed the elusive autograph.
"You could tell when I asked him. I said, 'Hey Alex, sign my ball for me.' And he kind of looked and paused. You could tell he was not amused," said Mest, "But he did it. So, I have it."
She said whatever comes of A-Rod's troubles with performance-enhancing drugs and no matter how he's remembered, this ball will be treasured.
"Despite the controversy now he did do a lot of great things. So, it's a big deal that I got this. My dad's really excited that I got it."
A-Rod told reporters before the game he could not speak about the controversy.
He did give plenty of autographs in the 8th and 9th innings.
Allentown, PA 18102