Fightins' opener to feature sold-out crowd, newly named ostriches

First pitch at FirstEnergy Stadium set for 7:05 p.m., weather-permitting

Fightins' opener to feature sold-out crowd, ostriches

READING, Pa. - The Reading Fightin Phils will be making history when they take the field at FirstEnergy Stadium for the first time this season.

For the first time in the team's 47-year history, the team will play their home opener Friday night with a new name in front of a sold-out crowd and a pair of newly named ostriches.

A capacity crowd will be on hand when the first pitch is thrown at 7:05 p.m., weather-permitting. It's the first sold-out home opener in the team's history, putting the team on an early path to setting another season attendance record.

A trio of special guests will also be on hand for the home opener. Bronze medalist and Berks County native Allison Baver, jazz artist Gerald Veasley, and Rich Ashburn Jr.

The two live ostriches that will be in attendance at every home game this season will also make their big debut Friday night. And they were given new names just in time for the home opener.

The ostriches will be known as Ruth and Judy, in honor of Ruth Hartman, the queen of Baseballtown and a decorated farmer, and Pa. Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks Co., who has an advanced degree in agricultural education and played a role in the team obtaining the ostriches.

The winning names were submitted by Kellie Butsack and Kimberly Fies in a contest in which more than 400 fans suggested names for the ostriches, which are meant to honor the Fightin Phils' new logo and Berks County's rich farming tradition.

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