The Phillies have shaken up the look of their beloved Phanatic, but fans are none too happy about it.
The new Phanatic made his debut Sunday during the Phillies’ first home spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Phanatic, who is known for playfully shaking his hefty belly, has lost some weight. Now, his rump is larger and has a bright blue tip. He freshened up his sneakers and even sprouted some feathers on his arms.
The changes occurred amid a lawsuit with the Phanatic’s creators. The Phillies seem to hope the changes are enough to avoid the infringing on the mascot’s 35-year-old copyright. Copyright law allows the terms of the agreement to be redrawn after 35 years and the Phanatic’s is set to expire June 15.
The legal jargon doesn’t matter to most fans, however. They are just upset their favorite mascot looks different.
Fans ranting over the new Phanatic have started the hashtag “#NotMyPhanatic.” The tag plays off the similar “#NotMyPresident," which was used to protest the 2016 election of President Donald Trump.
One Philly sports fan took this a step farther, comparing the new Phanatic to a knock-off Barney costume.
97.5 the Fanatic’s Marc Farzetta values the Phanatic so much that he would trade away two of the Phillies’ brightest stars and one of the franchise’s best moments just to keep the mascot in tact.
One person pointed out the irony of the outrage, reminding her followers that the Phanatic had even worse changes in 2014.
There’s nothing more Philadelphia than spending a summer weekend down the shore and bringing the Phillies with you. Instead of hitting the jackpot at beachside arcades, Phillies fans think the new Phanatic is more of a cheap consolation prize.
With the Phanatic’s newfound fingers and star-shaped glasses, maybe he will be able to play piano and belt out lyrics like classic rock musician Elton John.
The Phanatic’s makeover was so polarizing that some fans even called for his replacement. Oscar the Grouch was the first choice for this grouchy group.
Just the talk of changing the Phanatic left some people in a panic. The mascot’s updates drew an outcry, even before they were revealed.
One die-hard fan went off about how ridiculous he thinks the changes are.
“Now he’s sporting red Frankenstein sneaks with Velcro,” Facebook user Ryan MacGlaughlin wrote on a Sports Talk Philly post. “Looks like he sat in blue paint, the tail is hideous. Oh and cursing the opposing pitcher is probably never going to work again, those magic fingers are now covered with some epic failure.”
Another fan pulled out a reference to the 2008 comedy Step Brothers. In one scene of the hit movie, Will Ferrell’s character tells his stepfather (Richard Jenkins) to keep his “liver-spotted hands" off his “beautiful mother" (Mary Steenburgen) who is “a saint.” To this fan, Phanatic is the true saint.
The changes don’t seem to matter much to other fans. They care about the Phanatic’s personality, not what he wears. They still question whether the changes are enough to hold up in court.