Is there anything less controversial and devoid of any deeper meaning than a sports mascot? They're basically very niche performative clowns whose sole purpose is to help hype the crowd up in between period and commercial breaks, and provide for some hilarious, if not staged, interactions between audience members.
Which is kind of weird that so many people are having such strong reactions to the new Phillie Phanatic mascot.
A frumpy, green, and furry creature with Birdo's mouth and a rotund lower abdomen, the Phanatic is probably one of Major League Baseball's weirdest, off-beat characters, maybe in all of sports (not counting Gritty.)
Which is probably why so many people started freaking out over the Phanatic's redesign. But you're going to have to squint to tell the difference, unless you're a die-hard Phanatic ... um, fanatic.
Here's the Phanatic's new digs.
There are some slight differences. He appears to be less rotund. And he finally has actual hands, and it looks like whoever designed the new costume put some feathers beneath his arms.
So this basically solidifies that the Phanatic is a bird.
Messing with the look of the Phillie Phanatic gives me an opportunity to share my Halloween horror story again. He’s always been hideous to *me*. https://t.co/o003HSMYRw— Grant Brisbee (@GrantBrisbee) February 23, 2020
Even if there are others who believe the mascot to be some other worldly dimension being with a dark past.
It turns out, the reason for the Phanatic redesign is kinda shady.
The Philadelphia Phillies, in an effort to avoid a lawsuit by their mascot’s creator, tweaked the Phillie Phanatic.— Philippe Lazaro (@philippelazaro) February 23, 2020
This is oddly of interest to me.
• Thicker brows
• Bleached brows
• Spikier lashes
• More thigh gap
• Trimmer calves
• Lighter colored tailfeather pic.twitter.com/EvRq7c8POn
The original creator of the Philly Phanatic got into some legal disputes with the Philadelphia Phillies and the MLB. So, instead of placating or working with the Phanatic's original creator, the Phillies decided to just re-vamp what the beloved mascot looks like.
While the changes are slight enough to (potentially) legally make a difference...
New Phillie Phanatic is McDowell's and the original Phillie Phanatic is McDonald's pic.twitter.com/UruzmcVpGN— Jay Jayson (@JayJayson111) February 23, 2020
Fans weren't really having the green monster's new look.
Deep thought pieces were spawned.
Of course I hate all of this: The first look at the 'new' Phillie Phanatic https://t.co/HfuJssvRhe— Neil Vogel (@neilvogel) February 23, 2020
People hated everything about changing the look and a lot of it had to do with the legal issues surrounding the Phillies' redesign of the mascot and not just the altered aesthetics.
Pretty soon, the memes started rolling in.
Leaked picture of the new Phillie Phanatic pic.twitter.com/aKPCjZ4zQ8— Snow Squall (@Astro_Coyote) February 23, 2020
I think they should've just made Green Man the Phillies' official mascot, It's Always Sunny would need their cut though.
Some just didn't like the new look.
The changes to the Phillie Phanatic were made to try to financially screw the mascot's creators.— Jason Lukehart (@JasonLukehart) February 23, 2020
This is another reminder that MLB itself and just about every team, are run by people you'd hate to have as neighbors.
While others used it as an opportunity to roast MLB upper management.
Others brought Gritty into it.
Note to Pay-Per-View: I will pay cash-money to see Gritty fight the Phillie Phanatic. pic.twitter.com/NBxeFCrSf0— Jeffrey Sconce (@JeffreySconce) February 23, 2020
Follks didn't really take to the Phanatic like people did for the Flyers', Gritty. A fight between the two would be pretty darn epic.
Some actually like the new Phanatic.
But mostly because he's got some extra green cushioning where it counts.
Some were pretty blunt with their criticisms.
To be fair, the Phanatic always looked like an unholy creature.
The fact that he has hands now freaked some people out.
I also want to say I don't understand the "grabbing random old women in the crowd" reference.
This is basically my aesthetic.
I got no problem working out ... But once 11pm hits, I start going on a pantry prowl.
A green gritty?!
Exclusive sneak preview of the new-look Phillie Phanatic. pic.twitter.com/7vO5SvECw1— Matt Mullin (@matt_mullin) February 21, 2020
Maybe every Philly-based mascot should just be the G-Man.
This is actually his least terrifying photo.
The new Phillie Phanatic is not that different but also terrifyingly different at the same time pic.twitter.com/Ogqby1uRi6— Jon DiMuzio (@jondimuzCBS) February 23, 2020
Then again I'm not that well versed in the horrors of the Phanatic.
Gritty would definitely win.
*Gritty emerges from the first base dugout, wearing the Phillie Phanatic's blood-soaked jersey and holding an axe in his hand, proclaims that HE is the new-look Phillies mascot after the Phillie Phanatic got in an... unfortunate accident* https://t.co/vC8BbzPJEK— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) February 21, 2020
But that goes without saying. Always bet on Gritty.
I just don't get it.
Me seeing even minor changes to my beloved Phillie Phanatic pic.twitter.com/5EUswpINWe— AL (@MissSchliez) February 23, 2020
It's not that much of a difference. But nostalgia is a powerful drug.
Yes, he has feathers.
Not a big fan of the Phillie Phanatic redesign. Does he have feathers now???😬 pic.twitter.com/B0x7R5yYnf— PhillyV1n ✪ (@PhillyV1n) February 23, 2020
It's kinda nuts how passionate people get over Snuffleupagus' green cousin.
Some see the Phanatic as an inspirational figure.
If the Phillie Phanatic can slim down I can too.— Paul, hello (@YesNoSuper) February 23, 2020
If he can engage in healthier habits, then anyone can!
He's just not getting that warm of a welcome.
Me seeing the new Phillie Phanatic: pic.twitter.com/f42NLWapXu— BABY JAY COWAN (@JayCowanDotTV) February 23, 2020
What do you think? Are you disheartened by the new Phanatic design? Or could you care less because baseball is boring anyway?