Monday, April 18, 2011

About the Phanatic

They celebrated the Phillie Phanatic’s birthday at Citizens Bank Park yesterday.

Not coincidentally, I think, the place was even more packed than usual. There were 45,716 people jammed into Citizens Bank Park, the second-largest crowd in the eight-year history of the Phils’ wildly successful new playpen and their 131st consecutive sellout.

They had special ceremonies before the game in which a bunch of mascots helped the Phanatic celebrate his birthday. A lot of kids donned their own version of the fuzzy green outfit worn by the oversized No. 1 Phils fan.

Oh, and yes, lest we forget, they actually played a game amid all the hoopla and partying at the Bank yesterday, with the Phils outlasting the Marlins, 3-2 on a day in which gusty winds and a brilliant, “high” sky seemed to make every fly ball an adventure and at least one routine fly ball hit by Placido Polano into the right-field gap a home run.

All of which brings me to this confession. I’ve never been a big fan of the Phanatic. It seems tired to me, a relic of the time when the Phils played at a concrete bowl that could not be farther removed from the retro party place they now call home. In addition, a lot of those old Phillies teams were pretty miserable on the field as well. The Phanatic was a diversion, something to entertain the fans.

And that’s part of the reason I don’t especially care for it. Next time you’re at the stadium, or watching on TV, watch what happens when the Phanatic shows up in the stands. All eyes are on him – not what is going on out on the field. To be honest, I’m surprised no one has been seriously injured “playing” with the Phanatic while a line drive foul is screaming their way.

Maybe I’m just a crank. It would not be the first time.

Or maybe I’m a purist who loves the game for what it is.

The Phils now toil in a sparkling new stadium that is literally the place to be in the summer in this town, more so than the beach, the clubs, or even the city’s vaunted historic sites.

I don’t expect the Phanatic to be going anywhere. I know kids love him. I do, too. Or at least I did at one time. I just don’t think he’s really needed the way he once was.

What do you think? Am I totally out in left-field? Or do you agree with me. Post a comment and let me know.

Blasphemy, I know. Next thing I’ll probably be attacking the ball girls.


Blogger Dannytheman said...

I agree with you. But my wife and kids love him.

April 18, 2011 at 5:05 PM 

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