The Phillie Phanatic is clearly a fixture on the Philadelphia sports scene, but only due to the professional, highly skilled nature of his handlers. A wild beast rescued as a baby in the Galapagos Islands by Harry Kalas during one of the Phillies’ signature “Phillies Phield Sport Phun Phestivals” from the early ’80s, the Phanatic is alway one missed dosage away from reverting to his primal form.
It’s a fact easily overlooked as his antics turn even the sternest of statisticians into the chuckling giggle pusses. But here we are, with another incident on our hands.
This time, the Phanatic burst into a party and hurled a woman into a pool. She claims to have sustained multiple serious, permanent injuries, as well as “shock” and “humiliation.”
“Sadly, we had to make the decision to up the sedatives in the Phanatic’s daily regiment,” handler Doug DeGray whispered, gesturing to a barred wooden crate behind him. “He’s sleeping right now thanks to the large number of sedatives we snuck into the wheelbarrow of pineapples he gets for lunch.”
Those in charge are experimenting with exactly what the dosage will look like, but are focusing most on making it stronger. The question is, how strong?
“Nobody wants a–nobody wants a dead-eyed Phanatic out there, yawning in the aisles and bumming out children,” DeGray continued, forgetting to whisper at first, but then, clutching the tranq gun on his belt and jerking his head back toward the crate before shifting to a quieter tone. “But it only takes one situation like this to make you re-think everything. I dropped one of his pills down a sewer grate once, and he wound up dry humping David Montgomery at a fancy party. I tell you, it’s amazing I even still have this job. Thank god I’m such a great blackmailer.”
When asked why the Phanatic isn’t merely released back into his native environment, DeGray pointed out how the Galapagos have change since the Phanatic first lived there, and how introducing an adult foreign creature may throw the entire island’s ecosystem into chaos.
“Are you nuts?” DeGray asked sarcastically. “Sure, let’s put that monster on a land form surrounded on all sides by water, preventing escape. Next thing you know, family pets are disappearing, people get flashed on their way to work, and normal bus rides are made hilarious by impromptu dance contests. There’s no part of culture he couldn’t leak into. No, it’s best to keep him here, in a contained environment, where we can make money off him.”
The Phanatic will always be here; it is just a matter of how his material and presence is eroded as the years go on. The ‘dead-eyed Phanatic’ of DeGray’s nightmares probably isn’t too far off, but it is a far better solution than a rampaging Phanatic, tearing through a grocery store aisle and ripping the head off a cardboard cut-out of Scott Rolen.
“That happened once,” DeGray whispered, staring off into the distance. “And actually, that was the Phanatic from my nightmares.”