Phillie Phanatic

The OG Phillie Phanatic wants Major League Baseball to lighten up

The OG Phillie Phanatic wants Major League Baseball to lighten up

Dave Raymond, the OG Phillie Phanatic, was alarmed when he read the news earlier this week.

No Mascots!

Has Major League Baseball lost its mind?

Or worse, its sense of humor?

Don’t misunderstand, Raymond, the man who breathed life into that big ball of green fur from the time it debuted in 1978 until 1993, is all for ridding the world of this nasty coronavirus beast. He’s all for social distancing, frequent handwashing and everything else that goes with protecting folks from getting sick. He knows how serious this thing is.

And that’s why he’s hoping that MLB won’t follow through on its plan to ban mascots from games when and if the sport comes back with a proposed 82-game schedule in July.

“I understand that only essential personnel can physically be at the games,” Raymond said Friday. “But I would argue that in these serious times mascots are more essential than ever.”

After shedding the Phanatic’s fur and handing the keys to the ATV to the equally brilliant Tom Burgoyne 26 years ago, Raymond dedicated his professional life to the concept of fun. It’s serious business. Raymond has owned and operated companies that help professional teams and college sports programs develop mascots/brands. He has trained mascots and helped found a mascot Hall of Fame. His current focus is motivational speaking. Everything is centered around the Power of Fun — which just so happens to be the title of his book — and how it can make a difference in people’s lives.

In these trying times when lives have been lost, when people have gotten sick and when the world has wrapped a mask around its face and gone into quarantine, Raymond is preaching louder than ever about the importance of a little fun and the respite it can offer in difficult times.

“It’s a scientific fact that laughing helps a person emotionally and physically,” he said.

That’s why he believes mascots need to have their place in baseball’s return.

“Mascots are a reflection of the fans’ heart and soul and part of the reason fans get emotionally connected to their teams,” he said. “During this time, we need the connection they provide more than ever. I understand that fans can’t be in the stadiums, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still engage them through mascots and character brands. Baseball needs to be creative and carve out space for entertainment.”

Raymond proposes that mascots be featured on television broadcasts when the game returns. It would be kind of funny to see a camera pan over to the Phanatic sitting all alone in section 305. Maybe even have Bobby Vinton’s Mr. Lonely play in the background.

If the Phanatic absolutely, positively cannot be in the ballpark, then he could be featured through technology and social media. Raymond proposed live streaming the Phanatic, wherever he might be, watching the game. Run it across social media platforms and have fans follow along. Raymond also proposed prerecording videos that could feature fans playing catch with the final throw landing in the Phanatic’s glove as he stands on the field. Another idea: Replace the Phanatic’s middle-of-the-fifth-inning dance skit with a live Zoom call on Phanavision and let fans log in. He’d like to see this stuff in every major league city.

“I understand it’s safety first, but there’s still room to lighten things up a little,” Raymond said.

Raymond is sharing this message with mascots who have been sidelined all over the country, from the major leagues to the minor leagues to the colleges. He has personally tutored many of them. They are his friends. Some have been furloughed from their jobs.

“It’s really devastating,” he said.

On Tuesday, Raymond will host a Zoom webinar for mascots and officials from teams, leagues and colleges that he has worked with over the years. It’s titled What The Heck Should My Mascot Do Now?

For Dave Raymond, the answer is simple:

Follow the rules, but by all means, be creative, embrace technology and mascot on.

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The Phillie Phanatic has the perfect quarantine office background

The Phillie Phanatic has the perfect quarantine office background

Zoom interviews are all the rage during these quarantine times. And with that comes the analysis of people's book cases and home offices.

There's been way more ink wasted on these topics than you'd imagine. "The politics of the books we display behind us during video calls" is an actual headline that exists. And there are even Twitter accounts with the sole purpose of rating people's video backgrounds.

We're going to save them one job and let everybody know that the Phillie Phanatic has the perfect office background.

The Phillies mascot did an interview with our own Marc Farzetta and showed off the sweet home office setup he has going on featuring none other than... the big green guy himself prominently.

It's not a flex many people can pull off -- having multiple images of yourself on your wall -- but the Phanatic most certainly can. Not only does he have movie posters (The Phanatic Goes Hollywood) and artwork featuring his big honker, he even has his own bobbleheads. I believe that's also a 2008 Charlie Manuel figurine up in his cabinet. They're good friends. And of course he has a globe because the Phanatic is worldly.

There's a reason why he's the O.G. greatest mascot in sports.

Wondering what the Phanatic's been up to during quarantine? Enjoy his interview with Farzy above and let's hope we see him outdoors at some point this summer.

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Bryce Harper's storytime with the Phanatic is just as wholesome as you'd think

Bryce Harper's storytime with the Phanatic is just as wholesome as you'd think

Get ready to be transported back in time to simpler days ... no, not when sports were still happening — though that’s also a solid answer. We’re going back to storytime. 

Wednesday night, Bryce Harper joined the Phillie Phanatic on Instagram to read a story to the best mascot in baseball (and the best fans) … and he came prepared. When he joined the video, it looked like he was ready to take the field in Spring Training —  decked out in a red jersey, the iconic pinstripes, Phillies cap and eye black. All while rocking his famous flow, of course. 

Harper did his best impersonation of an elementary school teacher while reading, “The Phillie Phanatic’s Philadelphia Story.”

“Have you ever wanted to travel back in time? Where would you go? Who would you visit? While studying for a history test, the Phanatic’s mom, Phoebe, presents her son with a time travel helmet and that’s when the Phanatic’s Colonial Philadelphia adventure begins! Suddenly, history comes alive as the funny mascot walks the cobblestone streets of Philadelphia during a time when our country was formed. With the help of Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross and Thomas Jefferson, the Phanatic doesn’t just learn about American history, he makes history!”  — Description of "The Phillie Phanatic's Philadelphia Story" 

From inflections, to adding instant page-by-page analysis, asking questions and displaying the illustrations for all of the viewers to see — it’s safe to say Harper did a great job. Even though this storytime was catered to kids … adults definitely had to smile when watching it all unfold. Wholesome, happy content — you can’t help but enjoy it these days. 

Not to mention, the Phanatic had just about every special memento that was mentioned in the book to show everyone — Harper’s favorite being the time traveling helmet (which lights up and is completely awesome). Hopefully the Phanatic remembers to bring it to Citizens Bank Park so the right fielder can test it out for himself. 

Once the book was completed,  Harper had a crazy realization. Even though they are best friends, he still doesn’t have the Phanatic’s signature — but do you know who does? His son, Krew. 

There’s enough Phanatic love to go around, but he better get on it and send his buddy a signature of his own. 

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