READING, Pa. - Phillies fans flocked to Reading Friday night to see catcher Carlos Ruiz play for the Fightin Phils. He's been on suspension from 25 major league baseball games for taking a banned drug.
Back in November, Phillies fans learned Carlos Ruiz would be suspended for taking the commonly used treatment for attention deficit disorder, Adderall without a prescription.
He can't play in the majors so he was here in Reading. And it's rare to have such a large crowd in April for a regular game.
FirstEnergy Stadium was packed with Phillies fans.
"You all have Phillies, yay good job!" shouted the ticket collector at the gates.
It's not an uncommon site. But anywhere you looked in the stands you could determine what the main attraction was. It wasn't the food and it wasn't a mascot.
"It looks pretty good," said Sue Groff of Boyertown, "We usually come when the Philly Phanatic is here for the kids."
Everyone wearing Ruiz and number 51 jerseys wanted to see the starting catcher for the Fightin Phils, Carlos Ruiz.
"I love Ruiz," said Tom Hale of Reading, "He's been my favorite player the last year. He's doing great. Hopefully, he'll keep on going with that."
Fans missed him on opening day and can't wait to see him in the big Phils uniform.
"They need him back," said Hale, "They need something to charge them back up."
He was on deck in Reading. And people said they can forgive his use of the banned amphetamine, Adderall.
"He did the crime. So, he did his time," said Hale.
He has been off for 25 major league games. But his major league fans will come to him.
"We came out to see Carlos Ruiz and we come up here it's a lot of fun," said Dennis O'Neill of Conshohocken, who was dressed like Santa Claus.
Santa traveled from the Philly burbs. So is Chooch naughty or nice?
"He's naughty right now. He's getting into the nice coming back to play," said Santa.
Ruiz is scheduled to play for the Fightin Phils Saturday and on Sunday with the Phillies against the Mets. The attendance Friday night was over 8,000.
Allentown, PA 18102