Tag Archives: Phillie Phanatic

Confession of a Phillies fan who left the Harper walkoff slam game early

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I have a confession to make. I’m a lifelong Phillies fan. A partial season ticket holder. I write about the team frequently here at my website.

I was at Thusday night’s game in which the team rallied scoring seven times in the final two innings to come from five runs down and win on Bryce Harper‘s walkoff grand slam.

And I saw none of it. None of the runs. No part of the rally. Not live and in person anyway.

I gave up, and I left early.

To set the stage for you, this was perhaps the eighth game that I had been to this season. After an early season hot streak, things had deteriorated, for me and the ball club.

In each of the previous two games that I had been to, the Phillies had been blown out. Not only that, but they had not even shown up. Both times they were nearly shutout, had few hits, and the games were over by the middle innings.

Thursday night was much the same. The Phillies were down 5-0 when the top of the 8th inning rolled around. They had just four hits. Yu Darvish of the Cubs was dominating, striking out ten batters over seven innings.

So, as the 7th inning rolled around, I turned to my daughter with whom I was attending the game and told her that we would give it one more inning.

Really, I wasn’t hoping for much from the Phillies at that point. The club was down 5-0 on the scoreboard and showing no life. This night on the field appeared to be solely for the many Cubs fans in the stands, including one who was seated directly behind us and had been chirping all night long.

No, I was willing to stay through the 7th inning to see, of all things, the Phillie Phanatic. Hey, the big green furry guy puts on a nice show in that frame, dancing on the Phillies dugout roof. He didn’t disappoint, doing a nice number with a dance troupe from Temple University.

And so, as the action got underway in the top of the 8th, we left.

There was a good crowd at the ball park on a beautiful night. More than 37,000 showed up. Many left, both before us and as we were leaving. But there were still many who stayed. Those who stayed to the end would be the lucky ones. Well, at least those rooting for the home team.

We headed to the car, down towards I-95, and up onto the highway northbound. At somewhere between Bridge Street and Academy Road, the Phillies scored a run. I told my daughter, who was flipping through her phone in the passenger seat, that we scored a run. “Yay” she said, with sarcastic feigned enthusiasm.

I dropped her off at her house, and continued on to home. On the way, my wife asked me to make a stop at Wawa. As I drew nearer to our neighborhood, the Phillies had put two runners on base with one out in the bottom of the 9th inning, still down 5-1.

I slipped through the dark and quiet streets of our neighborhood, my headlights streaming out and the street lamps helping light the way, and as I pulled into the Wawa parking lot a base hit by Brad Miller scored Cesar Hernandez to make it a 5-2 ball game.

Things were getting a little interesting. Roman Quinn, who has been hot for awhile now, was coming to the plate. He would be followed by Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper. Dare we dream?

As Cubs skipper Joe Maddon went to the mound to make a pitching change, I went into the Wawa.

Got myself a coffee, and the night manager, a nice guy who I’ve seen in there many times, saw my Phillies t-shirt and cap and said “I guess they lost, huh?

I told him that I had been down there, left when it was 5-0, but now they had a little rally going in the bottom of the 9th, down 5-2. He asked who was up, and I told him that it was Quinn. He kind of nodded with an “oh well” look on his face.

As I walked through the store to find an item for my wife, a notice came over my phone that Quinn had delivered an RBI single to make it a 5-3 game. I rushed back to Mr. Wawa Manager to let him know, and he said “guess I better find a place to listen.” I hope he did.

I got my items, paid, and left the store. Back in my car, I heard that Rhys Hoskins had somehow reached base – I just assumed a walk at that point – and that Bryce Harper was now up with the bases loaded.

Harper battled reliever Derek Holland during my four block drive home. I had just pulled in front of my house and was parking my car when…

You know the rest. Scott Franzke’s typically fantastic voice raised with the call “Swung on…hit high and deep…right field…and that…ball…is……goooooone!

Needless to say, finishing my parking job got a little bit tougher with that adrenalin jolt.

I got out of the car and hurried into my house. My wife, knowing that I was on my way and knowing her husband, had the game on, watched that ending, and had rewound it so that I could watch the end.

Watching it on TV was just as dramatic, even knowing how it ended. I rewound a little further so that I could enjoy the entire rally. When that TV coverage got to the home run, chills again thanks to John Kruk‘s now legendary “Oh my God!!” as soon as the ball left the bat.

So, I was there on Thursday night. I was at Citizens Bank Park for the game in which the Phillies rallied from down 5-0 in the 8th inning and 5-1 in the 9th to win on a walkoff grand slam by Bryce Harper.

I had a nice evening. My daughter and I ate and had a couple of beers before the game at Pass & Stow. We enjoyed each other’s company and chatted as we watched the game.

But we were not there at the end. We didn’t get to enjoy “the moment.”

You tell yourself a lot of things when you leave early, as I have done many times over the years. Gotta beat the crowd, the traffic being the main thing. I don’t believe that what happened last night has ever happened in a game that I left early before.

So, the question is – will I ever leave early again? Of course I will. Probably the very next game that I attend. And if the Phillies are losing, even losing big, I’ll hope and pray that I get to listen on the radio and/or watch on TV as they rally again.

 

Legal dispute could make Phillie Phanatic a free agent

For more than four decades, the Phillie Phanatic has entertained fans of the Philadelphia Phillies, first at Veteran’s Stadium and now at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phanatic, as he is more simply and frequently referred to, also represents the organization on not only the broader baseball landscape, making appearances at numerous MLB and MiLB events, but also makes numerous non-baseball public and private appearances, including many at charity events.
In recent days, rumors have begun to spread that the Phanatic could soon possibly become a free agent.
As with a player, the Phillie Phanatic’s contract with the organization may be up, and he could conceivably take his services elsewhere. Or so those hyped headlines – including the one accompanying this piece – would have you believe.
What is the truth? What is really going on here? Could the Phillie Phanatic become the ‘Phoenix Phanatic” or the ‘Florida Phanatic’ or the, gulp, Dallas or Atlanta or New York Phanatic? Or just simply a broader free agent known as ‘The Phanatic’ free to go wherever he pleases?
Before we get into the current legal situation, a quick background on the history of the Phillie Phanatic.

BIRTH OF A FURRY, GREEN LEGEND

CLEARWATER, FL – MARCH 02: Managing Partner John Middleton high fives the Phillie Phanatic as he walks out moments before the press conference to introduce Bryce Harper to the media and the fans of the Philadelphia Phillies on March 02, 2019 at the Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)
While his “official” biography says that the Phanatic suddenly appeared in South Philly from his native home in the Galapagos Islands, in reality he was the brainchild of former Phillies Director of Marketing Dennis Lehman and Promotions Director Frank Sullivan.
From the opening of Veteran’s Stadium in 1971 through the remainder of the decade of the 1970’s, a pair of characters named Phil and Phyllis, dressed in colonial garb, had taken on a sort of unofficial mascot role with the Phillies. Lehman and Sullivan wanted to come up with a unique character, similar to the controversial but popular “San Diego Chicken” character that had developed with the San Diego Padres organization.
Lehman and Sullivan approached Jim Henson, creator of the famous Muppets for Sesame Street, to help develop the original Phillie Phanatic costume. Henson directed them to  Bonnie Erickson of the New York firm known then as Harrison/Erickson, now Acme Mascots. Erickson had worked with Henson previously, creating the iconic Miss Piggy character among others. She would take on the assignment of creating the basic idea for the now iconic costume.
I wasn’t aware of the game as much as I was aware of the fact that they must be coming to us for entertainment,” Erickson told Mike Rubin for the Victory Journal. “When they told me mascots, I went ‘Oh, really? I don’t know that I want that. That’s not what I want to do.’ But then I realized what kinds of crowds would be seeing this.”
An intern with the Phillies in those days, David Raymond, was chosen to take on the role of making the costume come to life. Raymond was athletic, a former football player at the University of Delaware. That athleticism was a necessity to carry and carry-on in the heavy costume on hot summer days at the ballpark. But also, Raymond’s mother was deaf. His experience communicating with his mother helped him to project personality without speaking.
“We wanted to try to suspend disbelief that there was a human being in there,” Wayde Harrison, Erickson’s husband and business partner, told Rubin. “We want the Phillie Phanatic to be the Phillie Phanatic. We don’t you to think, ‘Hey, there’s a guy running around in a big green costume.’
In April of 1978, the Phillie Phanatic was introduced to the local fan base on the morning children’s television program “Captain Noah’s Magical Ark”, in an appearance with Phillies veteran catcher Tim McCarver. And on April 25, 1978 the fans at The Vet got their first look at the comical character.
The rest, as they say, is Philadelphia show business history.
An executive with the club at the time, Bill Giles approved the whole venture, hoping that the Phanatic would help lure more families to Veteran’s Stadium, even beyond the average baseball fan. Giles then made a fateful decision involving the character. As told by Daniel Craig at The Philly Voice in January 2016:
“They had offered Phillies executive Bill Giles the choice between paying $5,200 for both the Phanatic costume and the character’s copyright, or purchasing just the costume alone for $3,900. Giles opted for only the costume, a move he would describe in his auto-biography as “the worst decision of my career.” Five years later he paid $250,000 for the Phanatic’s copyright.
Dave Raymond would portray the Phanatic until 1993, when Tom Burgoyne took over the role. Burgoyne, who calls himself the Phanatic’s “best friend” in order to maintain the character’s personal as separate from himself, has filled the role ever since.

THE LAWSUIT

Flash-forward a few decades. The Phillie Phanatic is cemented as both an integral part of the Philadelphia community and an indelible part of the fabric of the Philadelphia Phillies organization.

Like millions of other kids of all ages over the last four decades, Elysia Bellina grew up loving the Phillie Phanatic. (Matt Veasey/Phillies Nation)
But last June, Harrison/Erickson sent a letter to the Phillies claiming that under a section of the Copyright Act, they were free to terminate their 1984 agreement and negotiate a new one.
Smelling a rat, or at least a money grab, the Phillies filed a lawsuit against Harrison/Erickson in which the club claimed that they were actually co-creators of the costume. The suit claims that Harrison/Erickson thus cannot make a claim to the origination of either the Phanatic character or the costume.
In the legal action between the Phillies and Harrison/Erickson, there is a claim which basically states that if a new agreement is not reached, then the Phillies would not be able to continue use of the Phillie Phanatic in any way after June 15, 2020.
So, there you have it. That’s what is happening in reality. The Phillies claim to be co-creators of the Phillie Phanatic, and to have purchased the copyright to the character “forever” back in 1984. Harrison/Erickson says that it has the right to cancel that agreement and negotiate a new one.
Now, lawyers for the two parties will fight it out, and a court will decide the matter. That is, unless the two sides actually do find a way to hammer out a new agreement and reach some mutually acceptable out-of-court settlement. That is the most likely resolution.
Don’t expect the Phillie Phanatic to ever become a true free agent. It is, after all, the “Phillie” Phanatic. Beloved by millions in our area, the Phanatic has entertained generations of Philly sports fans as a uniquely identifiable symbol of the Phillies and the overall Philadelphia landscape. That is not going to change, in June of 2020, or any time that any of us will see in our lifetimes.

Phillies will try for a rare 2019 series sweep in Cardinals finale

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Gabe Kapler has the Phillies in first despite inability to sweep series

This will be the finale of a three-game series between the two clubs, as well as the final meeting between them scheduled for the 2019 regular season.

The two teams have battled the weather in the first two games, as a major wave of powerful thunderstorms has been pushing through the area. Each of those first two contests was delayed at the outset by an hour or more.
This afternoon’s game should get underway as scheduled. The chance of precipitation is low at first pitch time and throughout the game. However, between 4-6 pm another round of storms is expected to roll through the area. Hopefully the game will be concluded before those arrive. Once begun, neither of the series first two games was actually delayed at any point.
This is also the lone series at home for manager Gabe Kapler and the Phillies in the middle of a stretch in which they play 13 of 16 on the road. They are now 10-6 during what we described weeks ago as a 23-game “crucible” of a test against tough teams from outside their division.
With the team immediately leaving for a west coast road trip to Los Angeles and San Diego, this will be the home fans last chance to see the Phillies until next Friday. That means that it’s also the last time to enjoy the antics of the Phillie Phanatic at Citizens Bank Park until next weekend.


THURSDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES LINEUP

  1. Andrew McCutchen LF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  6. Scott Kingery CF
  7. Andrew Knapp C
  8. Maikel Franco 3B
  9. Jerad Eickhoff P

CARDINALS LINEUP

  1. Kolten Wong 2B
  2. Paul DeJong SS
  3. Paul Goldschmidt 1B
  4. Marcell Ozuna LF
  5. Jose Martinez RF
  6. Matt Wieters C
  7. Jedd Gyorko 3B
  8. Harrison Bader CF
  9. Dakota Hudson P

INJURY REPORT

CARDINALS: Remain mostly healthy with just a pair of relievers on the IL in RH Mike Mayers and LH Brett Cecil
PHILLIES: Bullpen remains depleted with the following on the IL – Adam MorganDavid RobertsonPat NeshekTommy HunterEdubray RamosVictor Arano. Outfielder Roman Quinn also remains out. None are due back until some time in June at the earliest.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Jerad Eickhoff: 2-2, 3,86 ERA, 1.190 WHIP, 35 hits allowed over 42 innings across eight games (seven starts) with a 39/15 K:BB ratio.
  • The Phillies 28-year-old right-hander is making third career start vs Saint Louis: 1-1, 1.93 ERA, nine hits allowed over 14 innings. At Busch Stadium back on May 8, Eickhoff went eight innings and registered his most recent win on the season, allowing just three hits.
  • Eickhoff has pitched poorly over his last three starts: 17 hits allowed over 12 innings with an 8/4 K:BB. He has a .333 batting average against and has surrendered seven home runs in that span, lasting no more than five innings.
  • Dakota Hudson: 3-3, 4.22 ERA, 1.631 WHIP, 63 hits allowed over 53.1 innings across 11 games (10 starts) with a 38/24 K:BB ratio.
  • Hudson is a 24-year-old righty from Chattanooga, Tennessee who was the Cardinals supplemental first round pick at 34th overall in the 2016 MLB Draft out of Mississippi State University.
  • Hudson has made one career start previously vs the Phillies, that coming back on May 7 this season. He lasted five innings during an 11-1 Phillies victory, allowing eight runs (just two earned) on seven hits and three walks at Busch Stadium.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • After dropping the first two games of this series, the Cardinals are now just 6-18 over their last 24 games. They have fallen from first place with a 3.5 game lead in the NL Central at the start of this poor stretch to now fourth place, five games out.
  • The Phillies have now won five of their last six games and nine of 12. They are also 20-10 over the last month, building a 3.5 game lead (four in the loss column) in the NL East Division standings. The club has spent just seven days all season out of first place, none lower than second place.
  • Phillies will be going for just their third series sweep of the 2019 season. Each of the others came at Citizens Bank Park: Atlanta in the season’s first series back in late March, and Colorado two weeks ago.
  • After this game the Phillies will travel out for their first west coast trip of the season. They visit the NL’s top team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, for three over this coming weekend. That will be followed by three in San Diego against Manny Machado and the Padres to open next week.
  • Today will be another “Throwback Thursday” game, with the Phillies wearing the old powder blue style uniforms worn by the team for road games during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

TICKET IQ PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Phillies will try to take the series with Fish on Sunday

Phillies wrap Marlins series in South Philly
After the first-place Philadelphia Phillies (15-12) dropped the opener of this four-game series with the last-place Miami Marlins (8-19), an unlikely and troubling scenario was presenting itself.
The Phillies roster was noticeably improved this past off-season by an influx of free agents and trade acquisitions. Much was expected of a team that was viewed as a legitimate contender, and they got off to a hot start.
But that loss in the series opener left the Phillies just a game over the .500 mark and struggling. They had lost six of their previous eight games and had suffered a series of recent injuries that seemed to sap the life out of the squad.
In order to win a division crown or a Wildcard playoff berth, teams are going to need to find a way to overcome injuries and other challenges. They are going to have to win series. And they are especially going to have to win the series that they are supposed to win.
This series against a bottom-dweller team at home was one that the Phillies needed to win, injuries or not. Losing the opener meant that in order to accomplish that, the club would have to capture three straight.
Well, we are almost there. The Phillies have recovered to win on Friday and Saturday nights, setting up the chance to win the series with a Sunday afternoon victory.
They won on Saturday night after building up what seemed to be an insurmountable 10-1 lead after five innings. But the Marlins, who have made an early-season habit of playing their best baseball on Saturdays, roared back to cut the deficit to just 10-9. 
Rhys Hoskins stepped up with a huge two-run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning to clinch a 12-9 victory, setting up this Sunday opportunity.
Phillies shortstop Jean Segura, playing in his first game since being activated from the Injured List, was literally knocked out of the game on Saturday night when he was hit in the head by a pitch from Marlins starter Trevor Richards. His initial concussion examination came back negative, and after a re-evaluation this morning, Segura was cleared to play.
Phillies Nation wishes public address announcer Dan Baker well. An undisclosed illness caused Baker to miss his first game since Citizens Bank Park opened back in 2004. Generations of fans have listened as he introduced lineups, served as emcee for many events, and made numerous other announcements both at Veteran’s Stadium and CBP since 1972.
The Phillies currently are the only team in the National League East Division standings with a winning record. They hold a 1.5 game lead on the New York Mets, one game in the loss column. The Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals are both two games back in the loss column.

SUNDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES LINEUP

  1. Andrew McCutchen CF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. Nick Williams LF
  6. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  7. Andrew Knapp C
  8. Maikel Franco 3B
  9. Zach Eflin P

MARLINS LINEUP

  1. Jon Berti 3B
  2. Martin Prado 1B
  3. Brian Anderson RF
  4. Starlin Castro 2B
  5. Miguel Rojas SS
  6. Isaac Galloway LF
  7. Chad Wallach C
  8. Lewis Brinson CF
  9. Pablo Lopez P

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Zach Eflin: 2-3, 4.15 ERA, 1.346 WHIP, 30 hits allowed over 26 IP (5 starts) with a 23/5 K:BB
  • In his only other appearance at Citizens Bank Park this season, Eflin went 7 innings to beat the Twins
  • Eflin has five career starts against Miami: 2-2, 5.52 ERA, 31 hits including eight home runs over 29.1 IP
  • Pablo Lopez: 2-3, 4.44 ERA, 1.177 WHIP, 26 hits allowed over 26.1 IP (5 starts) with a 29/5 K:BB
  • Lopez registered his best start of the season thus far in his last outing. Went 6.1 IP at Cleveland allowing just two hits and no earned runs to the host Indians with six strikeouts and two walks.
  • Lopez has one career start at Citizens Bank Park and it was a good one. Last August 2 he allowed just five hits over six innings, one of those a solo home run from Hoskins, in a 5-2 loss to the Phillies.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • With a win today it would be the first time that the Phillies have won five straight home series against any team since they defeated the Padres in six straight over 2011-16. The Phillies are 13-3 against the Marlins over these last five series, outscoring the Fish by 118-49.
  • Per Elias, Hoskins 60th career home run in his 229th game made him the second-fastest Phillies player ever to reach the 60-homer plateau behind Ryan Howard, who did it in 209 games. Since his MLB debut on 8/10/17, Hoskins leads the National League in home runs. He and Mike Trout are the only big-leaguers with at least 50 homers and 140 walks in that time period.
  • The Phillies now have 96 extra-base hits, tying the franchise record prior to May. They now have a combined 38 home runs, the most prior to May since the 2008 club banged out 41.
  • Both Hoskins and Maikel Franco have 22 RBIs, five behind Howard’s pre-May club record. The Phillies have one remaining April game after Sunday. If Bryce Harper (19 RBI) drives in another run on Sunday or Tuesday it would mark the first time in team history that three players drove in 20+ prior to May.
  • Cesar Hernandez has hit safely in eight straight games and 13 of his last 14. Over the last 76 plate appearances he is hitting .333 with a .395 on-base percentage.
  • The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau and its PHL Sports division have announced that Phillies Chairman David Montgomery would receive its Lifetime Achievement Award during a ceremony on June 11.

SUNDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION

  • Sunday April 28 at 1:05 pm vs. the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park
  • This will be the Phillie Phanatic birthday celebration: hooded towels to kids 14 and under
  • TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)


Thanksgiving 2016: Five Phillies Things to be Thankful For

I have been a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies ever since I became aware of their existence at around age nine in the 1971 season.
That year, Veteran’s Stadium opened virtually in my South Philly backyard. 
Over the decades since, I have attended hundreds of games as a paying customer between ‘The Vet’ and Citizens Bank Park, not to mention a few road trip excursions.
I watched the 1970’s team come to power and win the 1980 World Series championship. Even attended Game Two of that Fall Classic as an 18-year old.
I fell in love with the 1993 ‘Macho Row’ squad, still the most fun Phillies season from start to finish that I have ever enjoyed.
And I especially reveled in the greatness of the team from the last decade. The one that rose to power in the late-00’s, won the 2008 World Series, and captured five straight NL East crowns.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

But as we have all had to come to grips with here in the City of Brotherly Love, that time is over now. The Phillies have been losers on the field for the last four years, and are now in the midst of a major rebuilding program.
It is with all those memories in mind that I sit here on Thanksgiving Eve, putting down in words a handful of things that strike me as those for which I am thankful at this time in the club’s history.
Some of these are things that bring me joy regarding the Philadelphia Phillies, and which have little to do with the actual playing of the baseball games.
Others are vital to the team and the playing of those games, to the winning and losing. The decision-making and the moves that have been and still will be made to bring the club back to on-field contending status.