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Twitter/Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillie Phanatic mascot unveils a slimmer makeover

Fans were assured that while he has evolved, he has definitely not matured.


Stacey Ritzen

Internet Culture

Posted on Feb 24, 2020   Updated on May 19, 2021, 3:44 pm CDT

Less than two years after Gritty came exploding onto the scene to quickly ascend as the most beloved mascot in Philadelphia (and worldwide sensation)—the city’s now-second most perplexing mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, unveiled a fresh, new look over the weekend.

The big reveal came during the Phillies’ first spring training home game in Clearwater, Florida on Sunday, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Perhaps the Phanatic’s new mojo gave the team the boost to defeat the Pirates, 4-3. )The Philadelphia Phillies also welcomed the Phanatic’s makeover by tweeting a video that ostensibly proves that while he has evolved, he has not matured.

The changes were actually more subtle than what many feared when the update was announced last week, in the midst of an ugly, ongoing legal battle with the Phanatic’s original creators, Bonnie Erickson and Wayde Harrison.

Local radio personality Marc Farzetta noted during Sunday’s game that some of the changes include a lighter shade of green fur, a solid blue tail, and what appears to be scales on the underside of his arms—in addition to the overall slimmer look.

It being Philadelphia and all, home to many less-than-forgiving sports fans, the debut was expectantly met with mixed reviews.

In 2018, Erickson and Harrison issued a notice of termination to the Phillies, claiming ownership of the mascot should the organization fail to reach a new agreement by June 15, 2020. Federal law permits artists to renegotiate their rights after 35 years. Though, the team argues that a 1984 renegotiation with Harrison/Erickson Inc. gave them permanent rights. The Phillies have also claimed that they contributed by creating the character and personality of the Phanatic, beyond just the physical costume.

Yet, many are firmly siding with Erickson and Harrison in their fight to retain legal rights to their creation.

The organization believes that the minor changes made to the Phillie Phanatic costume will put an end to the legal battle, although that remains to be seen.


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*First Published: Feb 24, 2020, 11:56 am CST