The Phillie Phanatic is still green and fuzzy.
He still has that awesome anteater-like tongue coming out of his snout.
He’s still got that attitude that once pushed Tommy Lasorda over the edge.
He’s still a literal fanatic of the Philadelphia Phillies.
But when the Phanatic made his 2020 debut Sunday during a spring-training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, there were some notable changes in his appearance.
He has slimmed down a bit, although his backside is more pronounced with a longer, brighter blue tail.
His socks and shoes are different colors.
He has feathers coming out of the bottom of his arms and his hands are now more human-like but covered by furry flaps.
His eyes are surrounded by purple stars, which are surrounded by bright blue fluff, making it appear like he’s wearing old-school Elton John glasses.
Ladies and gentlemen, the new-look Phanatic!
Here’s a handy side-by-side look at the old look vs. the new.
Wayde Harrison and Bonnie Erickson, creators of the original Phanatic 41 years ago, are not amused.
Last year, the Phillies filed a federal lawsuit to prevent Harrison-Erickson Inc. from backing out of a 1984 agreement that transferred the rights of the character to the team “forever” for $215,000. According to the lawsuit, the company sent the Phillies a letter in June 2018 stating its intention to “make the Phanatic a free agent” after June 15, 2020, unless the contract is renegotiated. The lawsuit is in its discovery phase.
Harrison and Erickson released a statement this week that indicated what they think of “the so-called ‘new’ Phanatic.”
“The Phillies lack of good faith in negotiating for an extension of the copyright assignment for the Phillie Phanatic is disappointing,” Harrison stated. “But the unveiling of the so-called ‘new’ Phanatic on Sunday is an afront to our intellectual property rights and to Phillies fans everywhere.”
Erickson added: “The ‘business decision’ by the Phillies to roll out this ‘new’ Phanatic is a transparent attempt to deny us our rights under of the Copyright Act. We would love to have the real Phanatic continue with the Phillies.”
Phillies spokeswoman Bonnie Clark told the Associated press that the team has no comment on the statement because of the pending litigation.
Some fans weren’t happy with the mascot redesign, with the hashtag #NotMyPhantic popping up on social media. But a couple of influential members of the Philadelphia sports scene weren’t so down on the changes.
Super fan Rob Dunphy, who has a tattoo of the Phantic on his belly, told NBC Sports that he’s “not mad at” the new look but has no intention of altering his body art.
“I can always say it’s a throwback,” he said.
Mega-popular Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty tweeted a photo of himself wearing a star/blue fluff mask around his eyes and hold signs that read, “I stand with the Phillie Phanatic. If you don’t, COME SEE ME ...”
Showing massive respect for his elder of nearly four decades, Gritty commented on a video of the new-look Phanatic, “Still the [GOAT].”
Still the 🐐— Gritty (@GrittyNHL) February 23, 2020