Weeks ago, John Middleton called a meeting to discuss the problem of the lawsuit over the use of the Phillie Phanatic. Invited to the meeting was team president Andy MacPhail, general counsel Rick Strouse, and Phanatic actor Tom Burgoyne.
Middleton: People, this is getting serious. This Phanatic lawsuit is simply not going away, and we need to come up with something. Andy, this seems like it might fall under the umbrella of your increasingly nebulous duties.
MacPhail: I suspect you’ll become angry if I tell you I don’t know what you’re talking about, so I’ll just quietly Google it on my phone. Wait...what did you say we’re discussing?
Middleton: ...The Phanatic! The Phillie Phanatic!
MacPhail: (A few seconds of Googling later) Oh, that big green thing? I always wondered what that was. Oh wait! It says here there’s a lawsuit! And we might lose control?
Middleton: Glad you’re all caught up. Now do you have any ideas?
MacPhail: Have you considered just paying them what they want?
Middleton: (snorts) Yeah, I considered it. Just like I considered giving my sister an equal share of the cigar fortune! Now let’s come up with some realistic ideas.
MacPhail: Do you think people would notice if we simply stopped using the Phanatic?
Middleton: Yes, I think they’d notice if our mascot of 40 plus years just suddenly vanished!
MacPhail: From my experience, the fans aren’t all that observant. I added all of those amenities to the stadium last year and nobody seemed to notice at all. All they did was complain about the team not winning games! A bunch of ingrates! They don’t deserve a mascot!
Middleton: Okay, you’re as useless as I expected. (Turns to Strouse) Have you guys made any progress on project “Steal Gritty?”
Strouse: We’ve examined every avenue, and have found no way in which we can just start using Gritty as our mascot.
Middleton: Even if we paint him green?
Exclusive sneak preview of the new-look Phillie Phanatic. pic.twitter.com/7vO5SvECw1— Matt Mullin (@matt_mullin) February 21, 2020
Strouse: Even then. In fact, we’ve already been served an injunction against doing that. On the other hand, the Sixers have been surprisingly open about letting us use their mascot.
Middleton: The Sixers have a mascot?
Strouse: Yes, it’s a dog named Franklin. Although they said we could also use one of their older mascots too. So Big Shot and Hip Hop are available to us.
Middleton: What the hell are Big Shot and Hip Hop?
Strouse: Hip Hop was a “cool” rabbit who would dunk. And Big Shot was basically a blue version of the Phanatic.
Middleton: Ah...can we sue them for using it?
Strouse: Considering they stopped using Big Shot 14 years ago, I don’t think we have much of a case.
Burgoyne: Hey, John, I’ve been quiet so far, but there’s one thing that has me a little worried. This lawsuit says that if they win, I’d personally become their property? I’m not sure if I’m completely okay with that.
Middleton: Sorry, Tom, but that’s the contract you agreed to.
Burgoyne: I know, but this kind of seems like slavery.
Strouse: He’s got a point, John. The courts have been on a real Constitutional kick lately, so they’re probably going to frown upon a violation of the 13th Amendment.
Middleton: Damn it, we don’t need to add to our problems! Tom, if I wanted someone who was going to try and better themselves, I’d have kept Dave Raymond around! Now, shut up and do your corporate sponsored dance when we tell you to!
Burgoyne: Yes, sir.
MacPhail: I’d like to re-visit that whole “Hip Hop” thing. I think a dunking rabbit might really be more in line with the image we’re trying to convey. Much better than a giant green thing.
Burgoyne: It’s a bird.
MacPhail: What’s a bird?
Burgoyne: The Phanatic. It’s a bird.
MacPhail: How is that thing supposed to be a bird? It doesn’t look like a bird!
Middleton: Wait a second. In your prattling, you may have come up with something! Rick, what if we re-designed the Phanatic to make it look more like a bird.
Strouse: Hmmm...slim it down, give it distinct wings...we could claim that the new design is more in line with what was originally intended, and that the creators have no further claim. Yes, this might work. I’ll get my team on this immediately.
"New year, new me," - The Phillie Phanatic, probably. pic.twitter.com/ixjnifMDiq— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 23, 2020
Middleton: And there we go! Good work, people! I think we just saved the Phanatic!