Our friends over at the Daily News have been churning out reports on the state of the Phils at each position. Dave Murphy’s breakdown of Short stop provides everything you need to know about the position from organizational depth, to contract obligations. Murphy has a keen eye for the troubles that ail the Phillies, but there is one that he and the franchise continually overlook — The Mascot.
I love the Phillie Phanatic like most fans do, but we have been giving him a free pass for years! If Charlie Manuel is on the hot seat for one bad season after taking this franchise to the playoffs for five seasons in a row, why isn’t the Phanatic in hot water! I mean this metaphorically of course, as the Galapagos native surely loves warm waters.
The big green mascot has been around since 1978, spanning over three decades of Phillies teams (most of whom weren’t worth remembering). I was in the stands this year as a sea of adoring fans celebrated his 34th birthday, cheering his traditional go-kart ride through the field and his gyrations on top of the dug out. 34 may not seem very old, but keep in mind these are mascot years (roughly translates to 68). Despite the team’s poor play on the field, the Phanatic managed to skirt any criticism.
If your a numbers person just take a look at the Phanatic’s record. He’s gone 2819-2728 (.508 win percentage) over his career. Sure, the Phanatic is over .500, but it really only put’s him in Larry Bowa level status (the manager, not the player).
Down on the Farm: Most of the attention on Lehigh Valley was directed towards the amazing season by Tyler Cloyd. Philadelphia got a first hand look at Cloyd when he was promoted in September. Cloyd wasn’t terrible, but Phillies management missed the real hidden gem(s) down in AAA. FeRROUS and FeFe, the tag-team duo have been the lightning rod behind the Iron Pig’s recent success. They could provide a much needed spark to the dated routines of the Phanatic.
Trade Targets: Bernie Brewer-MIL: Ruben Amaro has shown a willingness to make trades for big names, and who’s bigger in the mascot circle than Bernie Brewer. The Brewers made a late season run, but just couldn’t overcome the loss of Prince Fielder to make it back to the playoffs. Philadelphia would be a great fit for Bernie, with it’s up and coming reputation as a great American brew town. The Phanatic, Dominic Brown, and a free all-week pass to “Philly Beer Week” ought to get it done.
Summery: The Phanatic is a beloved figure in this town, but does that grant him a position for life? The Phillies would be wise to explore the trade market, if for nothing else than to provide leverage in future contract negotiations. After all, Ruben can’t afford another Ryan Howard type contract hanging around his neck.