Phillies Cry ‘Foul’ Over Mascot Free Agency Flap

cartoon of people fighting in the courtroomMajor League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies have one of the most iconic and enduring mascots anywhere in sports: the Philly Phanatic. But a recent lawsuit could force the team to part ways with the furry, green, somewhat bird-like creature. You see, the company originally contracted to design the character back in the 1970s is now seeking copyright ownership. 

In other words: The Philly Phanatic could soon be a free agent.

The lawsuit states that the termination provisions of copyright law allow an author to reclaim rights after 35 years, but the Phillies claim the complaint ignores the team’s role in designing and creating the mascot.

Strangely, the lawsuit states that the company registered its copyright of the Phanatic as an “artistic sculpture” – a bit of a stretch to say the least. We’ve never seen antics like these from a sculpture!

Will the Phillies strike out, or will the Phanatic continue to delight Philadelphia fans for years to come? That rests in the hands of the umpire. In this game, it’s the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.