Dunce Flash: Phillie Phanatic Sued – Again?

Image courtesy of photojournalist Mary Schwalm

Hi folks. It’s time again for the latest installment of Phanatic drama. My favorite mascot – the cherubic green monster of Philadelphia Phillies fame – has gotten his jelly roll into some trouble. A 75-year-old woman from Wernersville, Pa., is suing the Phanatic (my pal Tom Burgoyne), the Philadelphia Phillies and the club’s minor league outfit, the Reading Phillies.

Grace Crass is seeking $50,000 in damages for injuries sustained during a 2008 Reading Phillies minor league game. The adorable cross between Telly Monster and those damned Sesame Street Honkers allegedly maneuvered his muffin top through the crowd, roughing up Crass and causing injury to her knees.

Crass’s attorney, John Speicher, claims Phanatic climbed atop Crass’s legs to the point of her crying out in pain, and says he expects him “to come to a deposition, stick his stomach and his tongue out at me and not say anything,” adding that people around him have said that this is “like suing Santa Claus.” Speicher mentions the Phanatic’s infamous anteater-like tongue in his commentary to The Philadelphia Daily News, but it was Phanatic’s giant structure which aggravated Crass’s arthritis.

Phanatic isn’t a rookie when it comes to litigation. Bob Jarvis, professor of sports law at Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., says that the Phanatic holds the “dubious record as the most-sued mascot in the majors.” In a study published in the May 2002 Cardozo Law Review, Jarvis mused that Phanatic likely held that ill-coveted honor because of both his girth and ready excitability.  He’s a mover, a shaker and a knee quaker.

The last major civil case in recent memory occurred when the Phillies had to pay a judgment of $2.5 million to a man at a paint store event when the Phanatic got out of control and decided to jump the patron and wrestle him into a rough-house bear hug, from which the man sustained serious back injuries and litigated for damages. FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia had the last laugh on that one in 2009.

writes Rachel Levitin of We Love DC

Phanatic is a delight, though, and, again, my favorite mascot in all of sportsdom. He is a part of the game of baseball, and it’s sad to see him headed to court – again. He’s just bein’ the Jolly Green Giant, y’know?


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