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The Phanatic is Headed to Japan

The Phillies are sending the Phanatic to Japan for his birthday, where he will be doing events with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

Seattle Mariners v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Lost in the shuffle of the weekend’s four game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Phillies announced on Saturday that the Phillie Phanatic is going to Japan for five days, starting Monday, April 30th. While there, he will be performing at two Tokyo Yakult Swallows games on May 2nd and 3rd.

The “all expenses paid” trip is in honor of the Phanatic’s Birthday, which is being celebrated at Citizens Bank Park the day before he leaves on Sunday, April 29th. The beloved mascot first appeared in Philadelphia on April 25, 1978, which would make this year his 40th Birthday.

The Swallows’ Twitter account hinted at his arrival in a tweet last month.

The Yakult Swallows, named for their owners, the Yakult Corporation, play in Japan’s baseball league, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). The team was established in 1950, and play in Shinjuku, Tokyo at Meiji Jingu Stadium. They will be facing the Chunichi Dragons during the Phanatic’s stay, which seems like a missed opportunity for him to hang out with the Hiroshima Carp’s mascot.

The year 1978 is significant for the Yakult Swallows as well, as it was the year they won their first Japan Series Championship against the Hankyu Braves in seven games. Our old friend Charlie Manuel was actually member of the ‘78 Yakult Swallows, playing for them during his acclaimed career in the NPB. He helped power them to victory by hitting .312 with 39 homers and 103 RBI that season.

I think we can all look forward to the Phanatic doing the Umbrella Dance.