Phillies

Philadelphia having existential meltdown after report of Phillie Phanatic's 'new look'

Philadelphia having existential meltdown after report of Phillie Phanatic's 'new look'

You don't see anybody clamoring for them to put lipstick on Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Or a pair of Air Jordans on Michelangelo's David.

Some masterpieces are works of art that should live on forever as great artists intended.

That's how many in Philadelphia seem to feel about the Phillie Phanatic this afternoon following Jim Salisbury's report that our beloved green mascot will undergo some cosmetic and likely physical changes that will debut this Sunday down in Clearwater when the Phils play the Pirates.

It's worth noting: da Vinci and Michelangelo aren't currently embattled in any legal issues that we know of at the moment. Because they're dead.

That said, people are worried about this "new-look" Phanatic will mean for their well being. A sampling:

Fans of the big green fella from the Galapagos will have to wait until Sunday to see if their freakouts were unwarranted or if they're going to have to find a new mascot to idolize. It's going to be a long weekend for them.

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Bryce and Kayla Harper donate $500,000 to help battle coronavirus in Philadelphia and Las Vegas

Bryce and Kayla Harper donate $500,000 to help battle coronavirus in Philadelphia and Las Vegas

Bryce and Kayla Harper are donating $500,000 to help those in most immediate need battling the effects of coronavirus in their hometown of Las Vegas and in Philadelphia, their "home away from home."

The Harpers released this statement Thursday afternoon:

"We are blessed to be together as a family during this pandemic but realize many do not have the same luxury. As the world battles COVID-19 and its effects, we are keeping the faith and praying for a swift return to normalcy.

"Through the power of prayer and helping each other with pure intent and love, we will get through this TOGETHER! Faith in our Lord and Savior will help heal the world. 

"Las Vegas will always be my family's first home. Philadelphia, our home away from home, welcomed us with open arms from day one. These communities mean so much to us, and Kayla and I want to do our part to help battle the effects of the virus in Vegas and Philly.

"In partnership with Direct Relief and Three Square in Las Vegas, and Philabundance in Philadelphia, our family has committed $500,000 to help those in most immediate need.

"NOW is the time to come together and adhere to the guidelines of medical professionals! We are wishing the best to all with our prayers during this time."

#CrushCovid

Harper is back in Vegas working out. Phillies players are scattered throughout the country, some choosing to return home and others like Aaron Nola and Andrew McCutchen staying down in Florida. Guys are mostly on their own working out several times per week but not going hard every single day like the season is about to begin.

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How we would have been breaking down Phillies' home opening series vs. Brewers

How we would have been breaking down Phillies' home opening series vs. Brewers

After playing nearly the first week of the season on the road (just as they have four of the last five seasons), today the Phillies open up Citizens Bank Park for the 2020 season. What a beeee-U-T-FULL day it is! Perfect for what would have been opening day. 

It's a crusher, isn't it? First off, the weather's usually terrible for the home opener and we get a day like this. Second, the Phillies would have mopped up with the Marlins and then the Mets to start the season, it says right here. The Phillies would be looking for a third straight home-opening win.

So who's the opponent for the Fightins on the occasion of their 139th home opener? One of last season's wild-card entrants, the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brew Crew lost the wild-card game to the eventual World Series champion Washington Nationals 4-3. Blew a 3-0 lead as the Nats scored three eighth-inning runs and that was it. Josh Hader, Milwaukee's elite closer, took the loss.

In the lineup, Yasmani Grandal left after one strong season and Mike Moustakas joined the Reds after hitting 35 homers in 2020. The Brewers have just two players remaining from last year's 1-8. Chief among them, 2018 MVP (and last season's runner-up) Christian Yelich.

Can you count on a lineup with that kind of turnover? One positive is second-year cleanup hitter Keston Hiura. He played in 84 games last season but if the second baseman meets expectations (30+ home runs, batting average near .300) maybe this lineup can withstand the key losses.

As for former MVP Ryan Braun, at this point in his career the 13-year veteran will split time at first base and in the outfield.

Brewers pitching? Brandon Woodruff's coming off an All-Star season in '19 but the rest of Milwaukee's rotation could be a weakness. They've got three new pieces in the rotation via free agency and trade, and Adrian Houser, had a 3.72 ERA in 18 starts for the Brewers last season.

Woulda been a great day ...

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