Did I see the Phanatic on 30 Rock Thursday night?
Yes, this was no figment of your imagination. The Philly Phantatic took time out of his busy schedule to make a guest appearance on the critically-acclaimed NBC sitcom. The Phanatic followed the time-honored tradition of athletes (and even mascots) making appearances in TV and film during the off-season.
Just last year it was Chase Utely and Ryan Howard appearing in an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I’m no Roger Ebert, but I’d have to say that the Phanatic showed some real acting chops. Believe it or not, he even had more lines than Chase or Ryan.
For those unfortunate souls who missed the episode (catch it on hulu), I’ll paint a brief picture of the Phantic’s Emmy-worthy role.
Jack Donoughy (Alec Baldwin) goes to leaps and bounds to impress his new Kabletown (Comcast) boss with a Philadelphia-centered gift package. The gift package is highlighted by an appearance by the Philly Phanatic. It’s here that Tina Fey offers up her own origin story for the Phanatic. Without giving away too much, I’ll hint that his natural habitat might not be on land. For those of you who haven’t read her hilarious new book, Bossypants, Tina Fey (an Upper Darby native) grew up in a Phillies-devoted home.
I’ll admit the Phanatics guest spot may not warrant an honorary statue, but it’s hard to ignore the growing number of Phillies appearing across all media outlets. Whether it’s the Phanatic on 30 Rock, Chase Utley hanging with the Gang at Sunny, or Ryan Howard doing his best Jared impersonation for Subway, Phillies are everywhere!
This may not seem so astounding to younger fans, but anyone of my generation and older know that it wasn’t always this cool to don the Red and White pin stripes. I don’t remember Curt Schilling making a guest appearance on Frasier. Shoot, even the Mets had more players making cameos on TV (like Keith Hernandez’s hilarious guest spot on Seinfeld).
All I ask is that the younger generation appreciates the national exposure that the Phillies family is experiencing now. And, can we get Shane Victorino on an episode of Hawaii Five-O please?